Perhaps hoping to channel some St. Patrick’s Day luck, the New York Jets made a huge high-risk/high-reward draft pick trade. It would be worth it if it finally means a successful future franchise quarterback.
The New York Jets made a huge trade on St. Patrick’s Day, one that will alter the future of the franchise for years to come. Although the devoted Jets fans that read this site are probably already aware of the details, let’s briefly review the trade.
To sum up, the Jets traded this year’s first-round pick (6th overall) plus three second-round picks for the Colts’ first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft (3rd overall). Basically, the Jets gave up a second-round pick for each spot they moved up in the draft.
Any trade involving this much draft capital is huge, but what should Jets fans think about it?
First things first, while the Jets parted with many high draft picks, the price they paid to move up in this year’s draft was reasonable. Just last year, the Bears gave up four draft picks (one first round pick, two third round picks, and a fourth round pick) to move up from the third to the second overall pick in the draft. The Jets also gave up four picks (although they were higher picks overall), and they moved up three spots.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 17, 2018
Second, although this is so obvious it barely needs to be said, Jets fans can now be certain that their team will be drafting a quarterback in the first round. It is exceedingly rare for NFL teams to part with so much draft value unless they have a future franchise quarterback in their sights.
So we know that the Jets made a reasonable (albeit expensive) trade to move up and draft a quarterback. But the question remains, is this a good trade? Should Jets fans be happy about it?
Some sportswriters and fans are saying this is an essential trade for the Jets that will enable them to finally find a star quarterback. Others are saying the Jets took a huge gamble and gave up valuable draft picks that will hurt the team’s depth for years to come.
As is often the case, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
On the bright side, it is impossible to win consistently in the NFL without a franchise quarterback. The Jets should have been willing to pay almost any price for Kirk Cousins, and now should be willing to pay through the nose for a draft quarterback. If they find a top-of-the-line starter with their third overall pick, no one will remember how much it cost the team to get him.
However, if the Jets fail to find a franchise quarterback in this draft, then this trade was a miserable failure.
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Even with the third overall pick, it’s highly possible that multiple quarterbacks could be off the board by the time the Jets are on the clock. Both the Cleveland Browns (first overall) and New York Giants (second overall) could opt to take quarterbacks or trade their picks to teams (i.e. Bills) who want a quarterback.
There are many Jets fans who optimistically assert that all top four quarterbacks in this year’s draft (Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield) will be good in the NFL. I’m highly skeptical of that claim. NFL draft history is full of quarterback busts.
Given the large price the Jets paid, they had better be sure that 1. a quarterback they want is available with their pick and 2. that their selected quarterback turns into an NFL star. All that said, I commend the Jets for taking a necessary risk. If nothing else, this franchise has shown a willingness to take dramatic steps to build a contender.
Now let’s just keep our fingers crossed until Draft Day.