With the NFL trade deadline fast approaching (November 1st) the Jets must decide quickly what to do with disgruntled receiver Elijah Moore. I know they publicly came out saying they had no desire to trade Moore, but you know that is just coach speak. First it came from head coach Robert Saleh who does have some say in the matter but the ultimate decision comes down to Joe Douglas who is the architect of the team.
The Jets have to sit down and figure out what their plan is, they need to reassess how Moore fits or doesn’t fit into this offense.
Now I was a huge fan of drafting Moore so I don’t want him traded especially when the Jets are in need of playmakers. You saw in the win over Denver how the roster can get depleted of game changing players in a single afternoon.
Moore is a great talent, but he needs multiple touches in each game to be successful. He is sort of like a RB who can get stuffed numerous times then break off a 70 yard TD run. He is a game breaker who is diminutive in stature, but the more you give him opportunities the better the chance you have of a splash play. The way defenses in the NFL are, you need a couple of splash plays a game to have a chance of winning. The Jets offense is not talented enough right now (like most teams) to drive the field 80 yards 3 or 4 times a game.
Moore was a #1 receiver in college at Mississippi just like AJ Brown and DK Metcalf before him. He has great confidence in his abilities plus he wants to be a solid contributor on the team. Since Zach Wilson has come back he has received only 18 targets with 10 of them coming the first game Zach was back. In his last game played he had zero targets which will be very frustrating to an Alpha type player in Moore. The Jets wanted Moore because he had that Alpha type mentality but sometimes when you have that type of fire if you don’t keep him stoked you can get burned.
The Jets just have to figure out quickly what they want to do with Moore. It’s not like they feel he lacks talent. The first three weeks of the season he received 22 targets. Now the Jets were throwing the ball like crazy when Joe Flacco was at the helm for whatever reason so he isn’t going to get that type of attention going forward. No receiver will. Heck even Breece Hall received 21 targets the first 3 weeks but only had 4 total targets the last 3 weeks so the offense has evolved.
Will the offense change dramatically moving forward without our bellcow back Breece Hall in the lineup? That is what Mike LaFleur, Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas will have to figure out even after the addition of James Robinson.
Okay so for the sake of argument the Jets decide to trade Moore because they don’t want the drama and could get some team building Draft capital in return. A trade would only work if the Jets receive a bunch of calls from teams who have Playoff aspirations but lack a superior playmaker like Moore. The Jets can’t be the ones initiating the trade request because they would never get equal value in that scenario. The Jets could say afterward that they were blown away by a deal, and they want Moore to go somewhere he will be the focus of the offense; kind of like they are doing him a favor.
So who might be looking for a playmaker? I have 5 teams that come to mind who might be willing to make a trade for Moore. I think the Jets would ask for a 1st round pick but could be talked into a 2nd plus a 4th or 5th round selection depending on the team.
The Ravens would be a logical team to start with since Joe has a working relationship with the organization plus they have some of the worst starting receivers in the NFL. Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, DeMarcus Robinson and James Proche II are not a foursome who strike fear into any defense. Moore would slide in as a #1 type receiver on his first practice and would get the type of love (targets) he so wants.
2) Tennessee Titians
1st round pick Treylon Burks is on IR. Robert Woods is long in the tooth at 30 years old and hasn’t been the #1 type guy they expected. He signed a huge 4 year contract but is owed no money after this year. Moore has two additional years after 2022 on his contract at salaries under $2 million so he is very affordable. The rest of the receivers Kyle Phillips, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine or Mason Kinsey are not going to put fear any defense. The Titans need a receiving threat so defenses don’t crowd the line to stop Derrick Henry. Moore would give them that threat; at 4-2 the Titans look to keep their lead in the division then be a team to reckon with in the playoffs. Getting Moore may aid them greatly in that endeavor.
Aaron Rodgers has already stated that he expects the Packers to aggressively pursue a team upgrade before the trade deadline. Allen Lazard is a big bodied receiver but runs 4.55/40 so he is not a big play threat unless he is already downfield. Moore is the type of talent that can take any pass (short or long) to the house with 4.34/40 speed. The Packers desperately lack speed with 1st round pick Christian Watson unable to find the field because of injuries all year. Sammy Watkins doesn’t have that game breaking speed anymore, and Samori Toure or Amari Rodgers don’t threaten any defense. Besides if the Packers want to keep Aaron Rodgers around after this year they will need to bring some breakaway talent.
4) Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are missing their speedster Tyreek Hill so Moore would fit right into that role with the Chiefs. Andy Reid loves speed. He can never get enough and is always willing to trade top end draft picks to get what he wants. I’m sure (with the contract Moore has) he would probably pony up a 1st round pick. He know his window to win Super Bowls is shrinking with the contracts he has expanding next year. The Chiefs owe a combined $161 million in salary to their top 7 players in 2023. Getting a playmaker who can give him the type of explosiveness he desires at a tiny salary would be a Godsend. Reid knows he needs as much fire power he can get to make it past the Bills to get to the big game.
The Giants are a surprising 6-1 this year and in the playoff mix for the first time in a while. First year coach Brian Daboll is winning with smoke and mirrors right now so if he intends to stay in the Playoff hunt he needs some playmakers. Sterling Shepard is gone for the year. Kenny Golladay got paid and is now a headache, and the 20th pick in the 2021 draft Kadarius Toney can’t get on the field for whatever reason. Moore (the 34th pick in that same draft) would give an offensive guru like Daboll the player he needs to stay in Playoff contention. The Giants have made trades with the Jets before so that obstacle has been removed. Moore might cost the Giants a little more than other teams, but he may be worth his weight in gold to give Daniel Jones an actual weapon on offense.
Like I said earlier I don’t want the Jets to trade Moore unless they feel they can’t get the kind of use out of him or keep him from being a distraction while the team is playing really good unselfish ball. The effort has been there. Every aspect of the team has played a part in winning so you don’t want some kind of locker room bickering to break the camaraderie that the Jets have developed this year. You don’t want distractions.
I’m not saying that Moore would do that, but the coaches and the GM needs to be sure everyone is on the same page. If they are not sometimes subtraction works better than addition. I really want Mike LeFleur to work Moore into the offense and not just as a nominal player but as an integral part of the offense. Moore can work with Zach Wilson after practice to get some timing down and work on specific routes. He can be a difference maker especially now with Breece Hall sidelined, the Jets need him more than ever.
The Jets have a limited time to figure this out. The trade deadline is in a week so they need to make a decision quick. If they want to trade him then do so and get the most you can, but if the relationship is salvageable then start getting him involved in the offense this week. Don’t have him as an inactive player like Denzel Mims. Put him in the game and use him.
What do you think?