A year after trading up to get their quarterback, the Jets might be able to trade down this year and get a haul in the draft.
Sitting with the No. 3 pick, the Jets could be able to find a trade partner who is desperate to land one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft. The announcement Monday by Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray that he is choosing football over baseball only helps the Jets’ chances.
Many people do not consider Murray a top-five talent, but everyone knows what happens to quarterbacks in the draft — their stock climbs with each passing day. A year ago, no one was talking about another quarterback from Oklahoma — Baker Mayfield — being the No. 1 pick in the draft. He was considered by most people to be the fourth-best quarterback available. But there he was in April getting his name called first by the Browns.
Let’s say Murray has a good showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in two weeks and he measures bigger than people expected, interest will rise. He and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins appear to be the only possible top-10 quarterbacks.
For the Jets, they have to hope a few teams behind them fall in love with one of those quarterbacks and become desperate to move up. It is a strange year because the top three teams in the draft — the Cardinals, 49ers and Jets — all just made commitments to young quarterbacks.
The Raiders are a wild card at No. 4. Jon Gruden appears to be committed to Derek Carr, but you never know with Gruden. The Giants at No. 6 and the Jaguars at No. 7 are where the quarterback market heats up. Beyond that, the Broncos (No. 10) may still be in the market for a young quarterback despite reportedly trading for Joe Flacco. The Bengals (No. 11), Dolphins (13) and Redskins (15) all could be looking, too.
Teams may view leap-frogging the Giants as the hurdle they have to clear to get the quarterback. That would mean jumping to 5, where the Buccaneers are. But if there are multiple teams intrigued by quarterbacks or if the Raiders are thought to be interested in a quarterback, the Jets could be able to shop the No. 3 pick.
Trading down would be ideal for general manager Mike Maccagnan, who has multiple holes to fill on his roster and only six picks. He might be able to get a second-round pick back, which he gave up in the trade with the Colts to move up to No. 3 last year.
A fascinating scenario is if the Giants are the team that calls the Jets to move up to get a quarterback. The two teams have made only one trade, but Maccagnan would surely be happy to field a call from his Giants counterpart, Dave Gettleman. It is not as if the two teams are averse to dealing with each other. The Jets tried to make a draft-day trade with the Giants in 2016 and the Giants privately wondered why the Jets did not engage them last year when they were trying to trade up and the Giants held the No. 2 pick.
Recent history shows that teams in need of a quarterback will be willing to deal. Since 2016, there have been 11 quarterbacks drafted in the first round. In 10 of those instances, the team traded up to draft the quarterback. Only the Browns did not move up to get Mayfield last year because they already had the No. 1 pick. The Jets (Sam Darnold), Bills (Josh Allen), Cardinals (Josh Rosen) and Ravens (Lamar Jackson) all traded up. In 2017, the Bears (Mitch Trubisky), Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes) and Texans (Deshaun Watson) all moved up.
The craze began in 2016, when the Rams and Eagles both made aggressive moves to the No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively, to take Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. The Broncos also moved up that year to select Paxton Lynch.