Nov 12, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) stretches before the game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
The NY Jets need some areas addressed across the team. If they made these top two moves, even though it would be controversial, it would benefit the team tremendously.
General manager Mike Maccagnan has been hailed as the “Jet Savior” since a very successful first offseason for the Jets last year. He did so well last season, that he was honored as the “NFL Executive of the Year” as Jet fans have embraced him and he’s quickly become a favorite as a result.
That was last year, and a new offseason is just around the corner for Maccagnan and the Jets. Last season, the Jets had plenty of cap space, and they went out and spent lavishly. Last season they owned the No. 6 pick of the first round and made the most of it. This season, the face of the offseason is an entirely different affair.
Currently, the Jets own the No. 20 pick of the first round and have approximately $21M in cap space. The Jets currently have 20 players eligible for the unrestricted free agency market and won’t possibly be able to keep them all. Maccagnan’s task is a much more difficult one than the one he inherited upon arrival in 2015.
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Some in the fan base have expressed concerns for the chances of success in this offseason for the Jets. They have a few holes at key positions and require upgrades at many others.
Money will be at a premium if they decide to tag Muhammad Wilkerson, but regardless, the Jets will likely be frugal in free agency. The team only has a total of six picks currently in the draft, they don’t possess a sixth round pick as a result of their offseason last year. The circumstances aren’t ideal for Maccagnan this year and it will be a test to his abilities.
The one thing that was obvious last season, is the fact that Maccagnan is willing to “wheel and deal” when it comes to finding talent. He managed a trade to bring in Ryan Fitzpatrick, and fans are still raving over the results of the Brandon Marshall deal. Maccagnan also had a solid draft, where he surprised many with his moves around the board. He is willing to trade to get what he wants in free agency and the draft.
That observation made, I’m expecting more of the same from Maccagnan this year. I believe he has several of options to improve this roster, and I believe he could get drastic in his approach. I want to look at a drastic approach involving two key moves that have the potential to change the entire outlook of the Jets’ offseason this year.
Next: Trade Wilkerson
Damon Harrison (94) tackling Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (26) In the first half at MetLife Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 38-20. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports” width=”850″ height=”566″ /> Nov 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) and New York Jets nose tackle Damon Harrison (94) tackling Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (26) In the first half at MetLife Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 38-20. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
Trading Wilkerson has been a hot topic since the end of last season. He’s a fan favorite, and an undeniable talent on the Jets’ roster through his career. Any mention of trading him is normally met with objections and more than a few attacks on the one mentioning it. I think the time has come though.
Financial considerations this year and into the future likely result in him not being around after receiving the franchise tag while setting up the need for a possible trade. Wilkerson holds value and as such offers the Jets an opportunity to improve their roster. Many believe he immediately brings a top ten pick if he’s traded. I personally doubt that value, but regardless, it is not the approach I’d propose.
Instead, I think the Jets, if they decide to move him, seek a “package of picks” for the big man. Getting a top ten pick would be a nearly impossible task this year, and it’s my belief that more picks will benefit the roster more so than a single high pick. That brings us to Wilkerson’s value, it’s been highly debated across the internet this year, but I’m thinking a fair value might bring a second and fourth this season and a conditional second rounder in 2017.
You can continue to debate the number of picks and the position of those picks, but I think it becomes clear he holds great potential to upgrade the overall roster in a trade. As much as I’ll hate to see Wilkerson play elsewhere, I think Maccagnan has to consider the entire team. After all, this is the NFL and a business, trading Wilkerson for a package of picks makes for good business.
This year’s draft is deep at some positions of need for the Jets and getting several picks in a trade, could go a long way to achieving success for the team in 2016. Offensive linemen and running backs are being projected as deep this year, and the Jets have several holes to address there.
Defensive linemen are another very deep group, and the Jets might use a pick to replace Wilkerson if they choose. Of course, along with the additional picks, the Jets get to save a ton of cap space for their other needs.
Radical idea? Maybe, but one I think Maccagnan and the Jets will have to give some serious consideration if it is offered. Maccagnan knows things will be much harder this offseason than last year, so expect him to get the most out of a trade as possible. Three or more picks for one player has to be looked at.
Next: Trade the No. 20 pick
Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the NFL shield logo and main stage before the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Trade the No. 20 pick
So far in this scenario, the Jets have traded Wilkerson for a package of three picks, and have added to their current six picks in this year’s draft. The trade for Wilkerson wold give Maccagnan a first round pick, two second rounders and two fourth round picks. The Jets are in a good position to upgrade the roster via the draft at this point, but they still aren’t done.
The next drastic move the Jets could make would be to trade back out of the first round. It may seem like a totally crazy idea after trading Wilkerson, but hear me out. If the Jets trade away the No. 20 pick, they can again add a few picks to their already growing number of selections, and this draft is fairly deep at positions of need for the team.
Using the standard “draft pick value chart,” credited to Jimmie Johnson in the 1990’s, the value of No. 20 pick is 850 points. The chart lays out the value for each pick in an NFL draft for trade purposes, and is still widely used today. If the Jets trade the pick, the value translates into the first pick of the second round (580 points) and the first pick of the third round (265 points), or any combination of picks the Jets work out. The value is there for the Jets to pick up a number of picks, including an additional second rounder.
The moves are a drastic approach undoubtedly. Fans likely won’t see it happen, but as always, I like to bounce things off my readers to get a discussion going. Let’s be clear, I’m not proposing that the Jets actually make these moves, I’m surely not qualified to be a general manager, but these ideas can be fun to kick around.
To recap, the Jets have six picks in the 2016 NFL Draft this year. If they decide to trade their top defensive player, they have the potential to add two picks this year and a second rounder in 2017. That trade would bring their total to eight picks, including two second round selections and two fourth round picks.
Then if they decided to trade back out of the first round, they could again add a second rounder and a combination of mid round picks. The No. 20 pick holds quite a bit of value. The Jets at that point would own three second round picks, two fourth rounders and that is in addition to any lesser picks they can get from the number 20 trade. If they decide to go this route, the Jets would likely own 10 or more picks this year and a second rounder that could turn into a first rounder next year, if Wilkerson performs at a high level in 2016.
This scenario would provide plenty of tools for Maccagnan to work his magic. He’s proven he has an eye for talent and we’ve already seen he can get creative to find talent via the trade route. Three second rounders, have the potential to radically change the talent on this roster and with ten picks or more in the draft, the Jets can use them to continue to make trades. It definitely provides flexibility that they won’t have otherwise.
I know it sounds crazy, I think so myself! I’ve been known for crazier proposals however, and I thought I’d leave fans with just one more before I go out on Injured Reserve duty here at The Jet Press. I hope you folks enjoy the read and please leave me a comment below, tell me I’m nuts and as always, Let’s Talk Jet Football!!