The big Jets trade that ultimately happened way too soon
By Bob Lederer
The New York Jets dropped the ball in trading quarterback Teddy Bridgewater way too soon.
There’s no doubt that New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan cashed in and chalked up a nice profit by trading quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a 6th round pick for a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. But it’s not hard to make the case that a little more patience would have led to a far higher reward.
We’re not even out of the exhibition season, which has been marked by an uncharacteristically low number of significant NFL injuries––and a lot of teams have barely played their number one quarterbacks.
I believe the Jets pulled the trigger too soon. They traded their number two quarterback to New Orleans, which wanted Bridgewater to be their backup behind Drew Brees. But Bridgewater is not a second stringer. He was the Vikings present and future starter until his devastating 2016 injuries. He’s starting material for any team, and that includes any team that is well fortified at starting quarterback through this weekend but would suddenly need one in the next few weeks.
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Does anyone believe that a starting quarterback or two won’t be hurt in the first week or two of the season? It would not even have to be for the season. What odds would you give that one of those quarterbacks will be with a playoff contender?
Bridgewater showed this preseason that he still has the right stuff, not to mention mental capabilities and a winning, team-oriented personality that fits into any situation.
So, I don’t buy the prevailing wisdom of pro football scribes that since Bridgewater would serve as a backup in New York, the Jets couldn’t expect better than backup quarterback draft compensation.
I don’t think so. Desperate times lead to risky trade decisions. Put yourself inside the offices of a contending team that is geared up to win now, has a fan base expecting the same this year and has just lost their starting quarterback. Next, imagine the owner telling his GM, Personnel Director, and Head Coach, “Look guys, there goes our season if we don’t get a good quarterback right now.”
And Bridgewater, coming off impressive preseason performances against Atlanta, Washington, and the Giants, and having proven he can handle NFL hits and make all the throws, would be manning the phones on the Jets sideline.
In that situation, does a third-round pick become multiple draft picks (a pair of number threes or a three and a four?) or in an ultimate moment of crisis (see Dallas, yes ironically Minnesota, etc.) does that zealous NFL contender offer up their second-round draft selection? I don’t think that’s far-fetched. I have no problem with the third-round pick the Jets earned in this trade. I just question what exactly was the rush.