2-Pronged Trade Proposal Swaps Multiple Jets Draft Picks for Superstar QB-WR Duo

Mike Evans

Getty Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans could be available via trade in 2023.

It’s now March 5 and the expectation around the league is that both quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr will finally come to decisions on their 2023 destinations in the coming week.

For New York Jets fans, the hope is that Gang Green will end up with one of the two. However, according to one Jets analyst, their offseason strategy could shift depending on which one they bring in.

“In my opinion, the Jets’ approach with the 13th overall pick would change significantly depending on if they got Carr or Rodgers,” wrote Jets X-Factor co-owner Michael Nania on March 5. He said he believes general manager Joe Douglas will keep the pick if they sign Carr — with an eye toward the future — and trade additional picks for more firepower if they acquire Rodgers — with an eye toward an immediate championship.

“The Jets may have to trade the 13th pick to land Rodgers, but a recent rumor suggests the Jets might be able to trade for Rodgers without giving up a first-round pick,” Nania explained. “Should that be the case, I believe there is a reasonable chance the Jets would trade the pick for a veteran [wide receiver]. Using the 13th pick on an established veteran gives them a higher probability of getting immediate results than using it on a rookie.”

Jets Trade Package Pairs Aaron Rodgers With DeAndre Hopkins or Mike Evans

When Nania referenced the “rumor” that Rodgers wouldn’t cost a first, he was talking about a comment from NFL Network insider Daniel Jeremiah, according to Packer Report writer Jacob Morley. “DJ says he thinks Rodgers will be a Jet. Also added he doesn’t think it will take a 1st,” Morley tweeted on March 3.

A recent trade proposal for Rodgers matched this assertion, sending a 2023 second-round pick (No. 44 overall), a 2023 fourth-round pick (No. 113 overall) and a 2025 conditional second-round pick (becomes a first-rounder if Rodgers plays in 2024).

Nania’s additional suggestion was that you piggyback a trade like that by sending the No. 13 overall pick in 2023 to the Arizona Cardinals or Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a blockbuster move for either DeAndre Hopkins or Mike Evans at wide receiver. That would create a two-pronged trade proposal that could look something like this:

  • Jets get QB Aaron Rodgers & WR DeAndre Hopkins OR Mike Evans
  • Packers & Cardinals/Bucs get 2023 first, 2023 second, 2023 fourth & 2025 conditional second (could become a future first).

Cardinals reporter Mike Jurecki tweeted that agents have said Hopkins may only cost a second rounder plus a conditional pick, but a combination of Rodgers and either Hopkins or Evans could net both the 2023 first and second-round picks — plus a couple of extra mid-round or future picks.

Needless to say, that’s hefty price to pay! But for a chance at the franchise’s first Super Bowl in over 50 years, is it also worth it?

Jets Trade: DeAndre Hopkins or Mike Evans?

There’s also the question of Hopkins or Evans, and who fans would rather pay a potential first or second-round pick for.

First of all, one would have to assume that the Jets would release Corey Davis to help pay for the pre-existing contracts of either of these Pro Bowl WRs. That would save Gang Green $10.5 million, according to Over the Cap.

That means Hopkins or Evans would slide into his role as the bigger target on the outside, with Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore trading snaps in the slot. This would work as a scheme fit for both superstar talents.

How about financials? “Hopkins, who will turn 31 in June, has two years and $54.5 million remaining on his contract, including $42.8 million guaranteed,” Nania relayed, adding later: “With two years remaining on his deal, Hopkins would perfectly fit the Jets’ timeline with Rodgers, who, ideally, has two seasons left in the tank.”

As for Evans, the 30-year-old “is entering the final year of a five-year contract he signed back in 2018,” per Nania, and “will be a free agent after the 2023 season.” A post-June 1 trade of Evans would save the Bucs $14.5 million now and another $7.387 million in the future according to OTC, and come with a base salary of $13 million this year — plus a $9.2 million prorated bonus and a $1.5 million roster bonus.

Both would take some cap maneuvering by Douglas, which Nania acknowledged, but he justified it by calling this an “all-in” scenario.

Lastly, performance. Evans is “coming off his ninth consecutive 1,000-yard season to begin his career,” while Hopkins has shown a higher ceiling (three-time All-Pro) but is coming off a campaign ruined by a PED suspension. Evans has also won a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay.

Honestly, this one is about as close to a toss-up as it gets, but either of these acquisitions would signal that the Jets are interested in Lombardi Trophies — not playoff banners.

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