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What would you do?

To trade or not to trade, that is the question

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

This is not my idea. This scenario has been circling around the internet for a week or two but is worthy of a prolonged debate. The question is simple. Would you trade the #1 overall pick (Trevor Lawrence) for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ top pick in the Draft?

It’s a simple question, but it has a convoluted outcome when you interpret all the possible factors. Let’s take a look at all the factors to consider. Then you can decide the best course of action.

Things will definitely change. but as of right now the Jets have the #1 overall pick with the Cowboys owning pick #4 (according to Tankathon). With 4 games remaining the Jets should be heavy underdogs to the Seahawks and the Rams on the road the next two weeks. Add to that a repeat engagement with the Browns at home (after the debacle last year) then then final game against the Patriots at Foxboro.

The Jaguars have games against the Titans, the Ravens, the Bears, and the Colts. The Bears could be a winnable game the way Chicago has been playing.

What factors work into this trade?

1) So what can the Jets get for Sam Darnold?

I realize I may be jumping ahead of myself by making this the first topic, but it must be addressed. If you trade for Dak Prescott then Sam Darnold’s days in a Jets uniform are over. He has too much trade value as a young QB with two years of a rookie contract left to keep as a backup. He has talent as a QB. and let his poor play in green and white fool you into thinking other teams would not be interested.

As fans you are far too much invested in the quality of his play in games to access his value to other teams. Sam was a highly coveted QB only a few years back. NFL decision makers are not quickly dismayed the way fans are. They see the value. They also see this was a QB with little protection through most of his career and a coach who is vastly overrated as a developer of QBs.

The Jets may be viewed through the NFL as incompetents with little idea on how to develop players. Once amply trained in the offense I think Sam would be an improvement over Cam Newton in New England, Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco, Carson Wentz in Philly or Jared Goff in LA.

I have heard that Kyle Shanahan strongly desired Sam Darnold when he was at USC. Shanahan now has 3 QBs with different skillsets but nearly equal ceilings. I am sure he would trade a high draft pick to bring Sam back to the West Coast and teach how to run his offense. I feel he would trade a second round pick in a heartbeat, and that may be what the Jets get because as of now I don’t think Joe Douglas understands what value to put on players. His trades of his players have yielded little in value to this point. To think he would be wise enough to hold out for a first round pick would be wishful thinking.

Whether the Jets trade for Dak or draft a QB with the #1 pick is irrelevant to the situation. In either scenario the Jets would need to move Sam Darnold anyway. You don’t want a QB circus when you have a new QB coming to town. My guess would be that Sam would be moved sometime in the months before the Draft. This gives him time to move to a new city and acclimate himself to the new franchise.

I think the Jets could get the 49ers 2021 #1 pick for Sam which as of right now is #16 but could easily move into the low 20s by Draft day. I think the 49ers would believe getting Sam for a 20’s 1st round pick would be a steal. You are not going to easily find a comparable talent to Sam that late in the Draft. Also they could dump Jimmy Garoppolo. He would only cost $2.8 million in dead cap money over the next two years.

I don’t see this happening for the Jets, but I will make the trade for our purposes as a first round pick.I know most of you believe I am crazy for thinking this but it makes little difference to the question at hand which is to Dak or not to Dak.

2) Dak Prescott

Dak Came out of Mississippi State back in 2016 Draft as a 4th round pick (#135 overall) who was a physical specimen but lacking in high end QB skills. That perception was put to bed early when he led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record as a rookie, starting every game. His nearly 68% completion percentage, 23 TD/4 INT, and 3,667 passing yards were eye openers. He had two Pro Bowl years in his first four before his injury.

Dak’s attributes

Dak is only listed at 6’2” but he doesn’t have many passes knocked down with his over the top passing motion. He is a rugged player (238 lbs) who is a load to bring down with the ball in his hands. His arm strength is top notch. His throwing motion is excellent but also powerful.

Dak will not have arm issues (in my opinion) like Cam Newton or some others. He has great scrambling ability with the knack of knowing when pressure is coming. He doesn’t leave the pocket early, giving his receivers ample time to get open. He often can “feel” the pressure. He then escapes out of the fray to gain what he can while all the time keeping his eyes downfield.

Dak is a proven leader who most players on his team look up to. Leadership is not a trait that can be learned. It is an innate characteristic. Dak has it. When you hear him talk he is straight forward. He doesn’t mince words but usually has an upbeat message. In doing so he also seems incredibly sincere with what he is saying. You always feel like he is telling the truth.

Players will fight to the end with Dak as their QB. You always have hope because Dak has performed very well under pressure.

When his team is down he plays his best. He can rally a team back from a deep deficit. He inspires players with his “we can do this” attitude. He has a character and appearance that most teams would relish as the “face of the franchise.”

Dak came into the league in an ideal position for a young QB. He had a superior offensive line with a strong rushing attack. Teams had to worry about Zeke Elliott which gave him more open windows in the secondary.

In recent years the Dallas offensive line has not been as dominant due to a multitude of injuries. Yet Dak has still performed well. Even in an 8-8 campaign in 2019 Dak still threw for over 4,900 yards with 30 TDs with only 11 INTs despite a constant rush and the need to throw because of defensive ineffectiveness. This also happened after he was sacked a career high 56 times in the previous year. Many players would develop bad habits or become shell-shocked after being harassed so often. This did not happen with Dak.

The fact that he had his best year after being chased and sacked so often the year before is a testament to his fortitude and strong belief in himself and his team. He never complained and always was encouraging teammates on the sidelines.

Things to worry about with Dak

The thing to most worry about with Dak is his injury. It has been written that the surgery went well and Dak in on a path to recovery. They always say that unless something awful happens. Still you would think his great scrambling ability may be compromised to some extent because of his injury.

Dak is not signed for the 2021 season and would need to negotiate a contract with the Jets before any deal can be made. That contract will be expensive, very expensive because Dallas foolishly waited until after Patrick Mahomes signed his half billion dollar contract earlier this year. Dak will want and probably get a 5 year deal in the $42-44 million a year range. Even if the salary cap remains relatively stable at around $195 million that is going to be around 21-22% of the cap space.

Another minor concern is that Dak will be 28 years old in 2021 while Trevor Lawrence will be only 22. This means that you would conceivably have 12 more years with Dak as compared to a possible 20 year run with Lawrence. It is a fractional point but it does have value.

3) Trevor Lawrence

Lawrence is a tall franchise type QB with movement skills you like from the position. I have not finished my own personal evaluation of Lawrence, but he is said to be the next top franchise type QB in the mold of an Andrew Luck. We shall see.

What I have noticed so far is that Lawrence has an economical delivery for such a tall player. He does not have a profound wind up. He keeps the ball close to his body before the release which is the proper technique. He has had great coaching at Clemson and would come to the NFL well prepared to compete right away.

As of this date he has lost only a single game in his college career and that was in the National Championship Game to LSU although he played well. His height gives him great vision of the field, and he will have few passes batted down at the pro level. He does go through progressions as a passer which is rare for many college QBs today. He will at time stick to a certain read for too long which can get him into trouble. This is a very coachable problem and wouldn’t give me any hesitation to his selection.

Since he has yet to throw an NFL pass we don’t really know what his strengths will be. Lawrence will be a 22 year old rookie with a rookie contract for the next 4 years at least.

For the sake of argument we will cede that Lawrence is the best QB prospect in the Draft (I have yet to finish my evaluation of Fields, Trask, Lance, Wilson or Mond.) so we can concentrate on a single deal since the Jets won’t draft another QB if they trade for Dak.

So here is the deal

The Jets trade Darnold to the 49ers for pick #20. (This is just a guess.)

The Jets trade the #1 pick in the 2021 draft for Dak Prescott and pick #5. (This again is a guess.)

The Dak Prescott contract will take about half the unused cap space in 2021.

The Jets would still have:

3- first round picks approx. #5, 20, 25

1- 2nd round pick #1

2- 3rd round picks #1 and approx 25

1- 4th round pick #1

2- 5th round picks #1 and approx. #12

along with a 6th and 7th round pick

Other deals are sure to be made on or before draft day. The #1 pick on day two is always a moveable pick as there is always some team that is amazed a certain player is still on the board and will pay heavily for him. They have almost a full day to make a trade. The Jets will surely get calls.

The way I see it this deal can be looked from few different points of view.

First if you believe that Trevor Lawrence is a generational talent then you would be against the trade. All the draft picks in this deal do not add up to a Peyton Manning type talent on your roster. If you believe you could have a Hall of Fame talent in Lawrence then the deal is a no-go.

Second if you think the injury to Dak is so serious it will diminish his capabilities to the point it makes him a less effective QB with possible increased problems down the road; then the deal is a no-go.

Third if you think the age difference combined with the salary difference from Dak to a rookie contract for 4 years is too inviting then the deal is a no go.

Every other scenario would be a solid yes on the deal barring unforeseen factors.

Remember though, a generational talent only comes along once in...a generation. You have to be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to get one. That is if you don’t trade away the chance. As Bruce Arians says, “No risk it, no biscuit.”

What do you say?

Poll

Should the Jets trade the #1 pick for Dak Prescott?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    1) Yes
    (87 votes)
  • 88%
    2) No
    (702 votes)
789 votes total Vote Now

Please explain your reasons for your thoughts in the appropriate location.

As always please be civil .