‘Tis the season for NFL Draft trade ideas. Pro Football Focus and Bill Barnwell both recently made trade suggestions for the Jets to improve their team. PFF’s trade involved Sheldon Richardson. Barnwell’s involved Eric Decker. Let’s take a look.
1. Jets trade Sheldon Richardson to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round pick
A deal between the clubs makes financial sense, as the move would take Richardson’s $8 million cap number off the books completely in New York, and the Raiders still have $30 million to play with and can thus absorb the deal. Yes, there is risk involved from Oakland’s point of view, as Richardson’s current deal expires after this season, but if the change in scenery and motivation of playing for a contender helps Richardson revert back to his prior form, he’d be a gamble well worth taking.
In terms of fair compensation from Oakland, their third-round pick (No. 88 overall) should be enough for both teams. This pick is better than what the Jets for from a compensatory pick next year, and from the Raiders perspective, Richardson could be the final piece that gets them to Minneapolis next February.
Verdict: After everything that has happened in the last year, I just don’t see how Richardson fits into the Jets’ long-term plans. The team committed to Muhammad Wilkerson. Leonard Williams had a stellar sophomore season, while Richardson struggled on the field, the Jets struggled to figure out how to use him properly, and it was a struggle to avoid off field distractions. Even if Richardson has a big year, are the Jets prepared to give him another Wilkerson type deal? I’m guessing not. The way the Jets have set up their finances, they seem likely to be players in free agency a year from now. That means the odds of getting even a compensatory Draft pick for Richardson are low. If the team wants to get anything of value in return for Richardson, now is the time. The 88th pick is higher than any compensatory pick the Jets could get anyway. If the rumors are true that the Jets were offered a second round pick for Sheldon before the deadline, the front office probably made a mistake in not taking it. That opportunity is gone, though. The team needs to do the best it can now.
6. New York Jets
Titans get: 1-6, 5-150, WR Eric Decker
Jets get: 1-5, 6-214
Alternately, if the Jets are worried about a team moving ahead of them to grab a quarterback, they can just make their own push for the fifth selection. The Titans are in need of a wide receiver to flesh out their offense, and if they aren't in love with any of the options available at this point of the draft, they can go after help in the secondary with their pick and still acquire a useful player in Decker.
The 30-year-old missed virtually all of the 2016 season after undergoing surgeries on his hip and rotator cuff, but he's only one year removed from a 1,000-yard season despite playing alongside Brandon Marshall (who gobbled up targets) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (who is Ryan Fitzpatrick). The Titans could take a shot on Decker without missing out on anybody they would have drafted at five, although they may want the former Broncos third-round pick to take a pay cut from his $7.3 million base salary.
Verdict: My first reaction upon reading this proposal is it Decker seems like a lot to give up just to move up one slot. I understand he is hurt, but he still has an excellent track record in the league. Then after reading Barnwell’s rationale, the logic gets even more bizarre for me. If the Jets are looking to get a first round quarterback, dealing Decker to do so feels like robbing Peter to pay Paul. You’ve undermined the quarterback you are taking by trading away the best receiver on the team. This is a receiving corps that still could use a high end piece even with Decker. It probably goes near the bottom of the league without Decker. That isn’t the type of situation to stick a young quarterback into. I’d pass on this one.