Here are some random thoughts I have in the immediate aftermath of the Jets' trade for Ryan Clady.
As good as could be done: When I looked at the options yesterday, I felt like Clady was the best possible option barring an unexpected megatrade for Joe Thomas. Make no mistake. When healthy, Clady is one of the very best tackles in the NFL. If he can stay healthy, I think he stands to provide the Jets a major upgrade over what D'Brickashaw Ferguson gave the team a year ago. Since Clady is reportedly reworking his deal, it will come at a lower cost.
Trading for Clady: Everybody knew the Broncos had to get rid of Clady. They were up against the cap and signed a replacement in Russell Okung. With this in mind, I anticipate some people will complain that the Jets gave up a pick for a player who would have been cut. Well, the Jets would also be bidding against other teams if Clady had become a free agent. While the Jets did open up some cap space from Ferguson's retirement, they still are not loaded with cap room. The bottom line is left tackle is a premium position. The Jets absolutely needed to add a quality player at that position. You could say Brick was bad last year. You would be right. Guess what. It could have been a lot worse. Do you not think sliding Breno Giacomini to the left side would have been anything other than a big downgrade? This move eliminated the risk that Clady on the open market would have provided. Swapping a fifth round pick for a seventh rounder is a small price to fill such a critical hole.
Clady's health: It is undeniable that Clady comes with some degree of risk. He has missed 30 games over the last three years. Health is the 'if' in all of the praise for this trade. Given the alternatives, it is a risk the Jets had to take. If anything, it should give you appreciation for the durability Ferguson had. Missing one snap in a decade at such a high-risk position is incredible.
The throw-in: Having a seventh rounder come back to the Jets was a nice throw-in for Mike Maccagnan. It keeps the Jets with six selections in the Draft. The odds are lower on hitting in the seventh round than the fifth. That is the price of the deal, but at least the Jets gave themselves an extra lottery ticket.
Draft strategy impact: We can talk BPA until the cows come home. With a gaping hole at left tackle, the Jets would have been in a desperate spot. They would have been almost forced to take a tackle in the first round. Even though I think the Jets should and will invest in the offensive line early, this takes the desperation away. You never want to go into the Draft desperate at a key spot. I also think the trade increases the likelihood the Jets will trade down at some point to add extra picks. The team is now without a fifth and a sixth round pick just like it was a year ago. A trade down somewhere can help replenish the stock. I am not sure it will necessarily come in the first round, but sometime day two could be the sweet spot, just like it was a year ago. The Jets traded down in the third round and still grabbed Lorenzo Mauldin.