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How Ryan Clady Arguably Cost the Jets a Fourth Round Pick

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Baltimore Ravens v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

One of the hidden stories in the Jets’ failed trade for Ryan Clady is the way such a move can create a domino effect that brings residual damage.

Sometimes it is easy to lose track of the way one bad move can hurt a team beyond the obvious ways. Just as a failure to plan for the future at left tackle over the course of many years (and many general managers) forced the Jets to make the a trade for Clady in desperation, the loss of a fifth round pick turned into something greater.

In the fifth round, the Jets found themselves without a pick while a tackle they really liked named Brandon Shell remained on the board. In order to obtain Shell, the Jets traded their fourth round pick this year.

Shell showed some signs of promise near the end of his rookie year. Does that make the trade of a fourth round pick for a fifth round pick potentially a good one? Perhaps in one sense, but these things don’t happen neatly within a vacuum.

Now the Jets find themselves without a fourth round pick in what is considered a deep Draft. Current projections indicate the Jets might get a fourth round compensatory pick, but for a rebuilding team without much young talent wouldn’t having two fourth round picks in a deep Draft be nice?

I think most people thought the deal for Clady was reasonable at the time. I know I did, but once again, there is more to evaluate than how a deal looks in a vacuum. Sure, when the Jets were desperate for a left tackle, dealing a fifth for Clady made sense the same way you could justify giving up a fourth round pick to take Shell in the fifth round if Shell pans out.

It isn’t quite that simple, though. What you also had was a chain reaction. The Jets got themselves into a pickle at left tackle through poor planning over the course of many years, which forced a desperation trade. This in turn led to the trading away of a more valuable pick in a deep Draft.

These things seem small, but they add up. While you frequently find the top organizations in the league figuring out ways to add extra picks, you frequently find examples of inefficiency in less successful organizations. Hopefully we will find less examples of the Jets in the latter category in the years to come.