Tomorrow is the NFL trade deadline. By far the most likely scenario probably involves the Jets standing pat if only because in season trades are rare in this league. There has also been little in the way of substantive news about the Jets being active buyers on the trade market. There have, however, been numerous unsubstantiated rumors and ideas from Jets fans.
If you find yourself suggesting a trade, remember that any actual deal will likely follow these guidelines.
It isn't about 2013.
The Jets would love to make a run this year. They are going to play as hard and coach as hard as possible to make that happen. This is the beginning of a new era, however. It is the first year of a new general manager building a new foundation. We will not likely see the Jets surrender an asset for future years for one that helps them only in the short term.
While this team is better than many expected, making the Playoffs is going to be very difficult. The Jets find themselves an unenviable two games out in the division race. The Wild Card looks even more difficult. Only one of the two spots is available. The team between Kansas City and Denver that does not win the AFC West has the first one all but locked up. That leaves the Jets one potential Wild Card spot. Gang Green is currently one of eight teams in the AFC with either three or four wins. That is a huge jogjam for the final spot. Some teams will eventually fall back, but the field for that last spot is almost guaranteed to be crowded. The goal for the Jets isn't to make a Playoff run for one year. It is to build a team in 2014 and beyond that can compete for a championship every single year the way Baltimore and New England do in the AFC. Surrendering an asset that could help for years in exchange for a slightly better shot in 2013 just doesn't make sense.
If the Jets want to add somebody, they likely view that player as somebody who will be a contributor in 2015. It might be somebody about to hit free agency who they want to test as a fit and get a leg up on re-signing, but the Jets would probably pay less for somebody like that.
The first round pick is off limits.
This may not be true in a literal sense. There is always a price, but for the Jets to part with their first round pick, somebody would probably have to make an offer too good to be true.
Why is this? First round picks are valuable. They are the best bet to add premium talent at a discount price. The Jets' first round pick might be even more valuable this year. It can serve as a hedge if Geno Smith falters in the second half of the year. In a deep quarterback class, a good prospect could be there in the first round.
What if Geno lights it up in the second half? The pick is still very valuable. Teams are most likely to want to trade up and overpay to do so when they are after a quarterback. The Jets could end up with a bounty come Draft time if some quarterback needy team's favorite prospect is on the board when the Jets pick in the first round.
So you might love somebody on the trade block enough to deal the Jets' first round pick for him, but that is unlikely to happen.
Nobody wants Santonio Holmes.
I'm surprised by how frequently I see Holmes mentioned by people as a potential key part of a trade. Let's look at the facts. Holmes still has not proven he is all the way back from an extremely serious injury he suffered last year. He had one great game against Buffalo, yes, but that was only one game. Now he is hurt again, and his return is unclear. He also has a reputation for being a difficult locker room guy. To cap it off, his cap number exceeded $10 million next year and $9 million in 2015. This is not a guy for whom other teams are going to give up anything of value.
If the Jets wanted to give him away, there is a chance some team might offer a sixth or seventh rounder or a conditional pick, but Holmes himself isn't going to bring any kind of valuable return.
Nobody wants Mark Sanchez either.
If I'm surprised by how frequently I see Holmes mentioned as trade bait, I'm floored that some people are talking about Mark Sanchez playing a role in a Jets trade. I think it might have something to do with people mistakenly thinking his contract gets better after this season.
Because of the way the salary cap works, not having Sanchez on the team would have cost the Jets more than having him on the team in 2013. After this year, the cost of cutting him goes down. The cost of him remaining on the team, however, remains quite high. His cap number hovers between $13.1 million and $15.6 million over the next three years. That is for a quarterback who has never been statistically average once in his career, whose career was on a clear downward trajectory the last time he saw the field for any meaningful stretch, and will be coming off a serious injury. He also can't help another team until 2014. If the Jets offered a team a package, adding Sanchez would make that package less valuable. The guy has negative trade value.
The Jets probably couldn't give Sanchez away. The idea that he could be part of a trade package that brings the team back something of value is a pipe dream.