Proposed Trade Lands Jets a New Star WR for Super Bowl Chase

Robert Saleh, Jets

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh celebrating with his players after a big play.

If the New York Jets want to win a Super Bowl during the 2023 season they will need some additional firepower.

At least that was the argument made by ESPN’s Seth Walder who proposed a blockbuster preseason deal that could benefit both squads.

New York Jets receive: Wide receiver Mike Evans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers receive: 2024 fourth-round pick and a 2025 second-round pick

“A pretty good rule of thumb is that it’s hard to win the Super Bowl without two good-to-great receivers … unless your quarterback is Patrick Mahomes. Garrett Wilson checks one box for the Jets, but neither Allen Lazard nor Corey Davis is a suitable No. 2 option,” Walder said in a column posted on Thursday, August 10.

“Yes, the Jets have what looks like a great defense on paper, but offense is crucial to winning championships, and if you’re all-in with Rodgers, you might as well be all the way in. Presumably, this is the kind of move that Rodgers had in mind when he took a $35 million pay cut over the next two years.”

The Curious Case of Jets and Davis

Davis’ future was very much up in the air earlier this offseason.

The wideout even admitted publicly he wasn’t sure if he was going to be back with the Jets in 2023 after all of the additions to the wide receiver room.

However, at this current moment in time he is still on the roster and the coaching staff has said glowing things about him both on and off the field. Davis is in the last year of his deal and that features a $10.5 million base salary.

That is a pretty healthy number for a player that is currently sitting in the third position on the depth chart. According to Over The Cap, he is the No. 22 highest-paid wide receiver in football this season.

If the Jets decided to move on, they would only eat $666,667 in dead cap.

I’ve heard talk behind the scenes that the Jets would like Davis to take a pay cut that could work out for both parties. He could slash his salary down, but the team would increase the guarantees in the deal to provide Davis some security.

The decision Davis would have to make at this point of the calendar is who gives him the best deal. Is it the Jets, the team he is currently on? Or would another team potentially fork over more money? The latter seems unlikely because teams have normally spent all of their extra cash by this point of the year.

Of course, the final option Davis has is he could say screw you team, I’m not taking a pay cut so do with me what you’d like.

The Jets explored other waters this offseason to upgrade at wideout. If they would have been successful in one of those pursuits, I heard that Davis would have been the odd man out.

Evaluating Likelihood of a Mike Evans-Jets Trade

One of those pursuits was then free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. I spoke with ESPN NFL Insider Jeremy Fowler on “The Boy Green Show” earlier this offseason and he told me, “[the Jets] were in it until the very very end. I thought at one point they were going to get him.”

If the team was that aggressive and that close to landing a star receiver, perhaps they’d be willing to dip their toes back into the water.

Evans is 29 years of age, and he will turn 30 before the start of the 2023 season. He is entering the final year of his $82.5 million contract. The Jets would owe him $13 million in salary, per Walder, for this season.

Even though Walder proposed that initial trade idea listed above, he said the Jets could also probably receive a future compensatory pick.

Since Evans would be a rental player for the team, if he were to leave as an unrestricted free agent in 2024 the Jets could receive a comp pick the following year for losing him.

I asked Fowler on “The Boy Green Show” about a potential Evans Jets-Bucs trade because there have been a lot of rumors about it on social media.

“Evans is an interesting name and I was just in Tampa [doing training camp visits],” Fowler told me. “He really wants to re-sign with the Bucs and retire in Tampa. I think they’ll get something done. That would be an interesting name.”

However, his tune could change if the Bucs aren’t great to start the year. If we start to approach the NFL trade deadline and Tampa Bay wants to flip him so they don’t lose him for nothing, that could make sense.