With final roster cuts finalized, the New York Jets have turned the page on an era. Let’s take a look back at a trade that changed the course of franchise history.
The New York Jets released a key member of their 2013 NFL Draft class in final cuts for the 2016 season. A player in cornerback Dee Milliner who had a lot of potential, but had a lot of red flags in the durability department.
That offseason the Jets had just shipped away perhaps the greatest player in franchise history in cornerback Darrelle Revis. From that trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Jets received an additional first round draft choice.
Now the Jets had the power to change the course of history by owning two of the first 13 picks in the draft. Leading up to the event, the Jets had a lot of needs. They had more holes than just at cornerback but replacing Revis was at the top of the priority list. Although leading up to the draft, the Jets had a keen eye on a former West Virginia Mountaineer in wide receiver Tavon Austin.
Although small in stature, the Jets saw the potential from his explosive highlights throughout his collegiate career. According to reports at the time, he was very high on the Jets draft board. In the 2013 NFL Draft, the Jets had the 9th overall pick and the 13th overall pick (Tampa Bay’s). The Jets infatuation with Austin was no secret, which opened the door for another team to trade up ahead.
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Enter the Los Angeles Rams, who were willing to supply the Buffalo Bills with the right offer for the 8th overall spot.
While the Jets had their guy stolen from them, they settled for Milliner.
Now fast-forward to the 2016 offseason and we saw two polar opposite career turns.
On one side we just witnessed Milliner getting released and a week ago we saw Tavon Austin receive a massive contract extension.
So now it raises the question, what could’ve been if the Jets got their man with the 9th overall pick? Their other first-round pick, defensive end Sheldon Richardson, won Defensive Rookie of the Year that year and is one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL.
While Austin hasn’t been a top-flight receiver by any means, he has at least been more productive than Milliner. Plus just imagine Austin’s versatility with offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s creativity? What do you guys think? Let’s play the N “if” L with this potential draft day swap, share your comments below!