As the offseason moves to the dreaded down time that exists between the end of mandatory minicamp (June 14th thru 16th) and the start of training camp the Jets may see the value in making a trade or two. The date of training camp is not yet known, but veterans cannot report (per collective bargaining agreement) until 47 days prior to the first NFL game which would be Tuesday July 26th. That means that rookies would probably be coming in around a week prior to that.
So if training camp for all players officially started on July 27th, that gives all parties involved (players, coaches, front office types) approximately 41 days to vacation or relax around the house before the grind of the next 10 months.
So if the Jets would like to make a few moves with other teams then they probably need to do so in the next few weeks, or they may be calling a GM who is on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean sea with a cocktail in his hand. That probably (or highly likely?) would not be very conducive to making a deal.
Now NFL trades are rare, but there are teams out there that have needs that cannot be filled by your average waiver wire pickup. Unless you are high on the waiver wire pecking order you probably have little chance at finding a franchise altering player. So some teams might be open to trading a quality backup for a possible starter for this upcoming season.
Here are a couple trades that would make sense for both parties involved.
The Jets trade WR Denzel Mims & OT Chuma Edoga
The Baltimore Ravens for OL Patrick Mekari & ILB Malik Harrison
Patrick Mekari 6’ 4” 320 lbs 25 years old played collegiately at Cal
Mekari was a 2019 UDFA signing who has played in 36 career games making 23 starts. He can play all five offensive line positions after starting his career as a center/guard backup. As GM Eric DeCosta described him, “He’s tough and gritty, smart, versatile and a five-position player who does everything the right way.” He started 10 games at right tackle in 2021 (where he had little if any experience) and did very well. He totaled 762 snaps in 2021 and graded out (per PFF) as a better pass blocker than run blocker. He was the 51st best graded offensive tackle in the NFL in 2021.
He recently signed a 3 year extension for $15.45 million, but he would count only $1.1 million against the Jets cap space this year with $12.35 million remaining for the next two years.
Mekari is a player the Ravens are high on and would not like to give away, but they have starters Ronnie Stanley and former Jet Morgan Moses as tackles with veteran Ja’Wuan James and 2022 draft pick Daniel Faalele as backups so someone would have to go. They also have excellent backups a the guard position (Ben Cleveland and Ben Powers) and two centers behind 2022 draft pick Tyler Linderbaum so they are stocked on the offensive line.
Malik Harrison 6’ 3” 247 lbs 24 years old played collegiately at Ohio State
Harrison is a 2020 3rd round draft pick (#98 overall) who is strong and fast (4.66/40) but has struggled some for the Ravens when he has played. Harrison played in the first 7 games starting the first two but his playing time diminished over time. He was shot in the calf by a stray bullet during the Week 8 bye week and spent 3 weeks on the non football injury list. When he was activated he saw only a single snap the rest of the year with even 2020 UDFA Kristian Welch getting snaps over him.
So why does this trade make sense for either team?
The Ravens mysteriously traded away Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals in a Draft day trade and now have a starting group of Rashod Bateman 6’ 2” 210 lbs (46 rec 1 TD), Devin Duvernay 5’ 11 210 lbs (53 rec 2 TDs) and James Proche II 5’ 11” 193 lbs (17 rec 0 TDs) as their 3 starting receivers. Duverany and Proche II are both better slot receivers and would seemingly struggle on the outside.
Getting Mims would give the Ravens the size and speed receiver they need. It would add a big target and a player who could hypothetically grow with former league MVP Lamar Jackson. The rest of the Ravens WRs are pure question marks. Baltimore has high playoff hopes, and a season with the wide receiver group they currently have would force Lamar Jackson to do more himself. Another viable receiving threat is an imperative, not an option.
The adding of Edoga to the trade is a throw in that gives the Ravens back another young offensive lineman they can work with. I know Edoga is not a popular player amongst Jets fans (this Jet fan included) but many times a throw in to a trade can be beneficial with that player thriving in another environment. The Ravens have had a number of low valued offensive lineman become viable starters.
The Ravens have seemed to sour on Harrison although they would never say so publicly. He could move in behind C J Mosley as a backup a learn from a trusted source on how to play as an inside LB in the NFL. He had Patrick Queen in front of him who has been up and down in his first few years. In New York Harrison would learn from Saleh and Mosley so he would have unquestionably better teachers than before. Harrison was a high school QB but was switched to defense when he arrived at Ohio State. He then was moved to each of the linebackers spots during his time there so he was not able to learn at a single position. Harrison has two years left on his contract so if he doesn’t work out the Jets would have spent very little on this experiment.
This trade gives the Ravens the size and speed receiver they covet while giving the Jets a viable offensive lineman to backup their tackles and a developmental linebacker. The Jets could still add Kwon Alexander to the mix if they wanted as the minimal contract of Harrison wouldn’t prevent it. It would only further strengthen an obvious weakness the Jets have at linebacker and could provide great advantages down the road.
The fact that Joe Douglas has a great knowledge of the Ravens front office only enhances the chances of a deal being done. You have to give up something to get something, and in this case both teams are giving away assets (the Jets a 2nd and 3rd round draft prospects and the Ravens a 10 game starter and a 3rd round pick) to possibly improve their teams.
The Jets trade QB Mike White & DT Sheldon Rankins
The Seattle Seahawks trade DT Bryan Mone, QB Jacob Eason and a 3rd round pick
Bryan Mone 6’ 3” 345 lbs 27 year old who played collegiately at Michigan
Mone was a late bloomer who is starting his 4th NFL season. He played well last year in limited snaps (396 snaps) and would be the early down run stopper the Jets need. He has a great anchor against double teams. He would keep the guards off Mosley and Williams on early downs. He would probably play 30 to 40 snaps a game or around 50% of the snaps depending on how the game goes.
The Jets have improved their secondary and pass rush so reams will most likely want to pound the ball on early downs to stay away from 3rd and long situations. Mone could help against the run. The Jets would want to redo his contract before the trade, but it should be for little guaranteed money.
Jacob Eason 6’ 6” 231 lbs 24 years old who played collegiately at Washington
Eason is a throw in as he will not make the Seahawks final roster. He has the size that Joe Douglas loves, and his backup QBs would rule in a two on two basketball leagues. He has thrown a total of 5 NFL passes with 2 completions and an INT. He spent two years at the University of Georgia before transferring to Washington and had 5,590 passing yards with 39 TDs and 16 INTs.
So why does this trade make sense?
The Jets really don’t need 3 QBs on the active roster, but Eason would probably make it through waivers then onto the practice squad while White would definitely not. The fact that the Seahawks have no current long term starter at QB on the roster facilitates the trade (and the 3rd round pick) as White could be viewed as a better long term prospect than Geno Smith or Drew Lock. In any event a 3rd round pick is a small price to pay for a possible upgrade at the QB position.
White is a player the Jets like a lot, but for some reason they signed Joe Flacco to a contract with a $3,461,765 cap hit. The Jets had a RFA control on White this year that they won’t have in 2023 so he will need to find a new team.
Sheldon Rankins was a bust as a free agent last year, but the swap for a younger player gives the Seahawks a viable veteran presence while the Jets get a player who fills a significant need at a lower price. Rankins could excel in the Seahawks system which is quite different from the scheme the Jets employ.
Trades for players in the NFL are rare, but these trades seem to make sense for both teams. These trades include excess backup players moving to teams who could use them in starting roles.
Will these trades ever take place? Probably not, but something needs to be done for all 3 teams involved if they truly want to get better for the 2022 season.
That’s my take on the situation.
Do you have better trade scenarios?
If you do let’s hear them.