New York Jets
Photo Credit: USA Today

The New York Jets hold the third pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. If there’s one team in the league that understands the haul available via trade for that pick, it’s the Jets.

Last year, the New York Jets moved up in the draft in order to select Sam Darnold third overall. It cost New York the 6th, 34th, 37th, and 49th picks spread out over two drafts. To quantify the trade, the Jets overpaid for the 3rd pick by 29.1 points of draft capital, according to the Chase Stuart draft chart. The second pick of the draft is worth 30.2 points of draft capital. Essentially, the Colts acquired the 2nd pick of the draft out of thin air by moving down with New York.

Was that an overpay?

Sort of. In any other scenario, giving up that much excess draft capital in a single trade would be a fireable offense. However, trades for quarterbacks are just viewed through a different lens. In terms of modern history (2004 to present), the trade is in line with trades involving teams moving up for a QB.

The History

To go from #4 to #1 for Eli Manning in 2004, the Giants gave up #4, #11, #65, and #141.  The Chargers profited 21.6 points of draft capital. The 8th pick is worth 21.4 points.

To go from #6 to #2 for Robert Griffin in 2012, Washington gave up #2, #6, #22, and #36.  St. Louis profited 49.9 points of draft capital.  The 1st pick is worth 34.6 points and the 21st pick is worth 15.2 points.

To go from #15 to #1 for Jared Goff in 2016, the Rams gave up #5, #15, #43, #45, #76, and #100 for #1, #113, and #117.  Tennessee profited 34.3 points of draft capital.  The 1st pick is worth 34.6 points.

To go from #8 to #2 for Carson Wentz in 2016, the Eagles gave up #8, #12, #64, #77, and #100 for #2, and #139.  The Browns profited 27.1 points of draft capital.  The 3rd pick is worth 27.6 points.  

To go from #3 to #2 for Mitch Trubisky in 2017, the Bears gave up #3, #67, #70, and #111.  The 49ers profited 17.3 points of draft capital.  The 15th pick is worth 17.4 points.  

To go from #27 to #10 for Patrick Mahomes in 2017, the Chiefs gave up #22, #27, and #91.  The Bills profited 14.5 points of draft capital.  The 23rd pick is worth 14.6 points and the 24th pick is worth 14.4 points.

To go from #24 to #12 for Deshaun Watson in 2017, the Texans gave up #4 and #24.  Cleveland profited 21.4 points of draft capital.  The 8th pick is worth 21.4 points.

Of Note

First of all, the Griffin trade is the most absurd outlier in NFL history. It is the definition of a cautionary tale, and will never be repeated.

More relevant to the Jets, though, is that the price they paid is right in line with what the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles gave up to obtain Goff and Wentz. All three quarterbacks are still early on in their careers, but the odds are high each franchise would gladly redo each trade to get their guy.

Point being, if someone wants a quarterback badly enough, the Jets may be able to recoup everything they surrendered for the rights to Darnold. That might be a pretty big IF though.

2019 quarterback prospects

In terms of viable candidates to go in the top three picks, nearly every big board out there is going to tell you it is a two-man pool. Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins appear as the top two quarterbacks everywhere. They also are the only two to show up in the top ten of mock drafts. All of this can change between now and the opening round, but for the time being for the Jets to receive a massive haul for the third pick one of these two quarterbacks needs to be available.

To complicate matters a tad bit, the conventional wisdom seems to be these two guys aren’t that great of prospects themselves. We’ve seen this not matter in the past. The same was said of both Goff and Wentz prior to the 2016 draft, and the Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns still walked away with massive hauls for trading their top picks.

Yet this went in the opposite direction in 2018. In a draft where the consensus was the quarterback class was absolutely loaded, the Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals gave up relatively nothing to secure their quarterbacks when baring in mind the trade history listed above.

For Buffalo to go from #12 to #7 for Allen, they surrendered the 53rd and 56th picks in addition. Their trade partner, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, profited 14.9 points worth of draft capital. The 22nd pick is worth 14.9 points.

For Arizona to go from #15 to #10, they surrendered the 79th and 152nd picks. Their trade partner, the Oakland Raiders, profited 6.9 points worth of draft capital. The 77th pick is worth 6.9 points.

It’s complicated but it only takes one

The market for trades does seem to be all over the place, even if you can find some trend lines. Yet, it only takes one for New York to end up getting a prime package. Chicago shelled out what amounted to the 15th pick of the draft to move up a single spot in order to take a quarterback no one expected would go that high.

If one team falls in love with Murray or Haskins, that’s all the Jets need in order to recoup the draft capital they traded away in order to acquire Darnold.

What are the odds one is there?

Decent? Despite how terribly this whole thing started, there seems to be at least a good chance Murray goes first to the Cardinals. Let’s just say he does. That leaves Haskins needing to get to three, and someone loving him.

We won’t speculate on who or how many teams will love Haskins. But the San Francisco 49ers are sitting at the second pick facing the exact same situation. They aren’t interested in drafting a QB and would be foolish to not see if they could conjure up a heist for someone desperate enough for Haskins. John Lynch has already done this before with Trubisky from this exact draft slot.

On the other hand, should Murray go first, the 9ers would have their selection of any non-quarterback in the draft. Not a bad position to be in for a team that doesn’t need a QB. This also brings us to our other scenario.

A trade up for not a quarterback.

It’s possible two quarterbacks go off the board with the first two picks. It’s also possible a team is so in love with a top of the draft guy they trade up even with one or both quarterbacks being available.

Quarterbacks aside, there seems to be a near consensus top three in this draft: Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, and Josh Allen. All three are very talented prospects, but none is the elite level defensive prospect that Von Miller, Patrick Peterson, or Jadeveon Clowney were.

There also isn’t much in modern history to guide us in terms of what teams are willing to surrender to move up for a defensive lineman. Since the 2004 draft (for the sake of keeping it consistent with the time frame used for quarterback trades) there is only one instance of a team trading up into the top three in order to draft a defensive lineman or an edge rusher of some variety.

In the 2013 draft, the Miami Dolphins lit their second-round pick on fire in order to jump from #12 to #3 and take mega-bust Dion Jordan. Miami packaged pick #42 in order to consummate the deal. The trade was actually relatively even in terms of draft capital. The Oakland Raiders profited only 2 points worth of draft capital from the transaction, the equivalent of the 166th pick.

2013 was also a terrible draft class, and Bosa/Williams/Allen are all superior prospects to Jordan. The quality of the prospect matters, as well as the draft class. Teams in 2019 may be reluctant to trade up for an edge rusher when this class is flush with talented alternatives to the top two options. The other major factor is how far up the board you are traveling.

(A quick tangent back to the quarterbacks: There are not a myriad of talented alternatives to the top two quarterbacks in this class, which would bode well for the Jets’ trade market should one of them be available when they’re on the clock)

What if both quarterbacks are there?

There is a potential reality where the Murray to Arizona thing is a massive smokescreen to try to strike a trade. Should Arizona take one of the three defensive linemen, the 49ers could follow suit as well if they don’t think it’s worth moving down if it costs them the chance to select from the two linemen that are left over.

This leaves both quarterbacks on the board when New York is put on the clock. Clearly, this is a dream scenario for the Jets. If anyone out there is head over heels with either one and wants to secure their rights, then New York is open for business. It doesn’t hurt that not everyone is convinced the Raiders, sitting right behind New York at #4, are committed to Derek Carr long term, and that the Giants, at #6, could get their own ideas.

Fake trades!

This is why you’re really here, the fan fiction section. We’ve discussed the mechanics of a trade, so it’s time to dive into so potential trades based on absolutely 0 reporting (very responsible).

Pittsburgh trades #20, #52, 2020 first round pick for #3

The Jets get the haul they’re looking for, picking up a second round pick they’re currently missing while adding an additional first for next season. At pick #20 New York should be able to select from a number of defensive linemen, cornerbacks, or offensive lineman that will fill a need.

The Steelers end of the bargain sees them go up and get a quarterback they’re in love with. If they’re starry-eyed for Murray or Haskins that much, having taken Mason Rudolph in last year’s draft should not preclude them from making this move.

There is a changing of the guard in Pittsburgh. Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are both on different rosters. Ben Roethlisberger has been wishy-washy for a few years about his long term future. Who knows if Ryan Shazier will ever be able to play football again. It’s tragic, but it’s the reality of the situation.

If the Steelers want to get a guy to sit behind Roethlisberger for a year before making a quarterback change in 2020, this is the trade.

Denver trades #10, #41, 2020 second round pick for #3

Does John Elway seem like the type that is self-reflective to you? If you’re tall and have a howitzer for a right arm, Elway probably thinks you’re destined to be a hall of fame quarterback. Elway has spent draft picks on Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, the latter of which he traded up for, and just traded for Joe Flacco. Very common thread; tall, strong arm, not good.

This isn’t a declaration as to whether or not Haskins will be good in the NFL. But he is nearly 6’4″ with the arm strength Elway covets.

Tampa Bay trades #5, #70 for #3

This isn’t the huge haul the Jets want, but the Bucs are still overpaying here. The Jets would walk away profiting 4.2 points worth of draft capital. They would also stay in range of one of the three top tier defensive linemen potentially falling to them. Worst case they select a defensive lineman from the second tier or take any cornerback they like.

Tampa seems like the team that is unable to adequately judge how good they actually are. It seems like it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Tampa believes if they land Bosa, Williams, or Allen then they can compete for the playoffs in 2019. They may view forfeiting their third round pick as a worthy cost in order to do so.

Jacksonville trades #7, #69, #110 for #3

This trade is superior to the Tampa trade, obviously. The Jets profited 6.9 points worth of draft capital, which is the equivalent of the 77th pick.

Jacksonville is willing to add in their fourth rounder in order to outbid Tampa to get the deal done. Considering the Jaguars are also in possession of a late third rounder (#99), they could be willing to throw #110 into the deal.

The concept is the same as with Tampa. Jacksonville, based on their 2017 AFC title game appearance, believes they are one player away, especially with Nick Foles in town. They move up the board to secure one of the top tier defensive prospects to put them over the top. With the trade, they still have a second and third round pick to address their offense.

Cincinnati trades #11, #42, 2020 first round pick for #3

This, again, is the haul New York is hoping for.

New regimes mean new quarterbacks, so if Zac Taylor falls in love with one of the quarterbacks and everyone is comfortable going up to secure him, this isn’t unrealistic. Bolstering the theory is the fact there is no guaranteed money left on Andy Dalton‘s contract. Both Murray and Haskins are one year starters that one could reasonably argue could stand to benefit from sitting their entire rookie season. Letting Dalton start for the 2019 season before cutting ties with him next offseason at the cost of no dead money would have the Bengals emulate the “Kansas City model.”

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