NFL Trade Deadline: Zach Wilson injury should confirm Jets are sellers

With Zach Wilson injured, will the New York Jets look to trade two of their expiring contracts before the 2021 NFL trade deadline?

The injury to New York Jets QB Zach Wilson against the New England Patriots could not have been more timely with the 2021 NFL trade deadline looming. With the Jets entering Week 7 at 1-4, they were always likely to be sellers. But if Wilson’s injury lingers, the need for the Jets to switch their focus to the 2022 NFL season and beyond would only be confirmed.

Zach Wilson’s injury compounds a tough season for the rookie QB

Wilson left the game after a hit by Matt Judon in the second quarter. As Wilson threw the ball downfield, Judon came down across Wilson’s back. The Jets QB landed awkwardly and was immediately taken to the blue medical tent to be assessed. He managed to walk out of the tent and to the locker room but would not return to the game.

A former athletic trainer told Pro Football Network that Wilson’s injury is potentially one to his MCL. A report after the game from Ian Rapoport stated that the belief is the injury for Wilson is to the PCL and that he will have MRI on his knee.

There was another hit just before Judon’s, after which Wilson got up gingerly — the pressure of Judon landing on him would have further stressed the ligament. On Monday morning, Adam Schefter reported that Wilson has a sprained PCL and will miss 2-4 weeks.

Zach Wilson has not found the transition to the NFL easy

It has been a rough start to life in the NFL for Wilson. His early removal from New York’s Week 7 game in New England made this Wilson’s first NFL start in which he did not throw an interception. Through his first five starts, Wilson had thrown 9 picks compared to just 4 touchdowns. He was completing 57.3% of his passes and averaging 223.4 yards per game.

However, not all of that has been on Wilson. In those first five games, Wilson had been sacked on 9.5% of his dropbacks. That is the second-highest number in the NFL this season, behind only the Chicago Bears. It has felt like it would only be a matter of time until Wilson would get injured.

Does the injury to Wilson make the Jets potential sellers at the NFL trade deadline?

Now sitting at 1-5, it’s possible the Jets will look to trade away some of their players before the NFL trade deadline. Let’s take a look at some of the players who could be on their way out of New York.

Jamison Crowder, WR

Jamison Crowder is in the final year of his three-year contract with the Jets. His salary in 2021 is just $5 million, with just over half of that remaining this year. Therefore, he may be an intriguing trade target for a contending team. Crowder has been a reliable receiver in New York, catching 65.5% of his passes for 1,617 yards and 13 touchdowns heading into the game against the Patriots.

His ability to line up both in the slot and on the outside makes him a versatile piece for any contender looking to add to the receiver arsenal this season. From the Jets’ perspective, with Wilson potentially out, there is no real reason to keep Crowder.

New York has Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Denzel Mims at receiver, all of whom they hope to keep around for a while. Therefore, even When Wilson returns, it would make sense to get those receivers more reps within the system.

Marcus Maye, S

Despite Marcus Maye denying trade rumors heading into the Patriots game, it would be wise for the Jets to consider moving on. Realistically, they do not appear to be in a position to challenge in the short term. Furthermore, they could spend the money they would have to commit to Maye on improving their team elsewhere.

The problem with trading Maye is that the Jets might not get much in return. Given that he is 28 years old and a free agent after this season, teams would be hesitant to give up a significant amount. New York will have to separate its thinking with Maye from their previous defensive back trade of Jamal Adams.

Adams was still on his rookie contract, giving the Seahawks multiple years of control. At 28, Maye will be asking for a big payday from whoever acquires him. If not, he can just test free agency in 2022.

The Jets also need to consider that if Maye signs a big contract next offseason, he could net them a reasonably high compensatory pick. That may very well make the floor that they will accept for him a third-round draft pick. This one could be a tricky trade to make, but good safety play is often highly sought after in the NFL.

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