New York Jets: Could Dee Milliner be traded in 2015?


Dee Milliner came to the Jets as a first round draft pick in 2013. The highly heralded cornerback was chosen ninth overall, and was seen by many as the heir apparent to then departed Darrelle Revis. Milliner came to the Jets from Alabama University, where he was a stand out corner.

His future looked bright with the Jets in 2013. The 6’0″/201 lb. corner received high praise from Rex Ryan during that summer’s camp as fans held high expectations for him headed into his rookie campaign. Then came some struggles, some minor leg issues and all didn’t look so bright. Despite being thrown to the wolves, Milliner was benched twice by Ryan in his inaugural campaign.

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Milliner’s struggles that first year were put off to inexperience and being slowed by injury for the most part by Jet fans.  There were a contingent of fans that questioned his viability going forward at this juncture of his young career as well. Regardless of where you stood on Milliner in his rookie year, it became quickly apparent he wasn’t going to replace a shut down corner like Revis anytime soon.

Milliner entered his second year again playing well in camp early. Again, he was highly touted by his head coach and fans looked for him to prove his worth in year two. Unfortunately, for the Jets and Milliner, the injury bug struck early and he spent the entire 2014 season on injured reserve from a serious Achilles Tendon tear.

This year, Milliner has been overshadowed by the return of Antonio Cromartie and Revis. Buster Skrine was also brought in this year and many fans are now trying to figure out where Milliner fits into the Jets’ defensive secondary. Besides the Jet free agency corners, the Jets also possess a bunch of young talent at the position, including last year’s third round pick Dexter McDougle.

In my opinion, Milliner could possibly be seen as a trade chip from among a very talented Jets’ secondary and I’d like to tell you why I think so. First, Milliner has been disappointing at best in his first two years. The injury concerns many had about Milliner from his college days have seemingly followed him to the NFL. Two years running now, injuries have put a stop to any type of development from Milliner.

Secondly, Milliner in his limited time on the field, has proven he can be had deep. In college he had the luxury of biting slightly on a double move by a receiver, but in the pros you just can’t do it and expect to recover. Milliner also has the tendency to give too much space to wide receivers as he’s not shown the physicality one would like to see from a young corner expected to play man to man coverage. Generally speaking, Milliner is still playing college type cornerback, going into his third year.

That is not to say Milliner is a bust. I do believe Milliner has the potential to turn it around. Many fans are hinting at the “bust” label but I think that is a bit premature. Milliner did not become a first round pick by mistake, he earned his draft spot with performance. Even with the injuries and the early struggles at the pro level, a first round pick just two years in can’t be discounted that easily.

Milliner has been rumored to be on the trading block for the Jets. Though these reports are strictly unofficial, I can understand why the Jets might consider such a move. While the Jets possess a much stronger roster than they did last season, there are positions that they may wish to upgrade. Quarterback, offensive linemen and linebacker are positions that come to mind right off the bat, but any upgrade offered might be welcome.

Dec 15, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert (35) runs over New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner (27) during the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Panthers defeated the Jets 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

If Todd Bowles sees more value in Milliner as a trading piece or as a backup starter is yet to be seen. Milliner’s age is a plus for him but his lack of “connections” to Bowles and Maccagnan might be his big “minus.” If Milliner struggles early in his return from injury, I’d expect the Jets will be shopping him. Value isn’t quite clear, but Milliner could likely be traded in a player for player deal quite easily I think. The Jets unloading him this year for future picks is a less likely scenario in my opinion.

I will say this, I think it’s doubtful that the Jets trade Milliner, but the possibility is definitely there. I wouldn’t be against any trade of Milliner if it brought the team an upgrade at a position of need. The Jets possess a plethora of cornerback talent. Early reports from mini camps have Darrin Walls and Marcus Williams playing well this year. If they can continue, Milliner may become an expendable commodity.

So, the questions I pose today are this: Would you consider trading Milliner?  What would you want in return if you did?. You become the general manager for this one, Jets Nation! Leave us a comment and tell us what you’d do with Milliner going forward. Let’s Talk Jet Football!!

Next: New York Jets: The forgotten cornerbacks

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