The NY Jets are reportedly exploring trade options for Marcus Maye so we put together three hypothetical trade packages for the talented safety.
General manager Joe Douglas has been doing what he can to not only set the Jets up in a position to compete in 2020, but to set them up for future success. And that notion was no more apparent than with the team’s first third-round selection this year.
With the No. 68 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Jets surprised many with the selection of Cal safety Ashtyn Davis. The pick was puzzling to many at the time given the presence of both Maye and Jamal Adams in the secondary and the countless other needs on the roster.
But as much as this is a pick for the present, this was undoubtedly a move made with one eye on the future.
With Adams needing an extension in the near future, the Jets are clearly planning to move on from Maye who will be on the final year of his contract in 2020. Davis is likely seen as his future replacement.
For that reason, the Maye trade rumors make a ton of sense as the Jets will look to recoup resources so as to avoid another Robby Anderson scenario.
It’s impossible to accurately predict not only what teams will have interest, but what the possible compensation will be. But we gave it our best shot.
Here are three possible trade packages the Jets could explore for Marcus Maye.
Next: 3. A different safety goes to Dallas
3. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have been connected to a certain Jets safety for quite some time and it seemed as though a deal had been reached at the trade deadline last year. But a trade never came to fruition and the rumors have subsided for now.
But instead of Adams, could the Cowboys look to target Marcus Maye?
The Cowboys were rumored to be interested in some of the top safeties in the 2020 NFL Draft but ultimately came away with nothing at the position. And they could still be in search of an upgrade.
At the moment, Dallas is slated to enter next season with the duo of Xavier Woods and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at safety. However, neither is signed long-term with both expected to be free agents after the 2020 season.
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Woods is a fine starter, but he’s never been better than average at the position in his three NFL seasons. The former sixth-round pick has never earned a Pro Football Focus grade higher than 74.0 and there’s no doubt that Maye would be an upgrade.
Meanwhile, Clinton-Dix’s stock has been at a free fall and the former Pro Bowler signed a meager one-year, $3.75 million contract with the team in the offseason.
Maye could be brought in to play a true free safety role while Woods and Clinton-Dix could fill the typical strong safety position. Woods has experience at both positions and the Cowboys would likely be willing to make the change given the upgrade they’d be receiving.
Now, the Jets will likely want to receive a second-round pick in return. But given Maye’s injury history and expiring contract, I personally don’t see that happening.
The Cowboys will have an extra third and fourth-round pick in 2021 so they pull the trigger here and give the Jets some much-needed draft capital.
Next: 2. A rare player-for-player deal
2. Carolina Panthers
Admittedly, player-for-player trades are extremely rare in the NFL. For that reason, this scenario is likely the least probable one on the list. Nonetheless, it’s certainly one that the Jets would consider.
The Jets are still in desperate need of receiver help with few sure things at the position. And rumors have been swirling for weeks that the Carolina Panthers could look to move Curtis Samuel if the right offer presented itself.
Perhaps that “right offer” will come in the form of a rangy free safety like Marcus Maye.
The Panthers did draft Southern Illinois safety Jeremy Chinn in the second round of this year’s draft, but there’s no guarantee that he’s ready to start anytime soon given his small-school background.
If Chinn doesn’t start, former Jets draft bust Juston Burris is likely the next in line at the strong safety position. Burris has managed to turn his career around since his Jets departure, but he’s still not a starting-caliber player.
But that’s the strong safety position. That’s not where Maye would fit.
In this scenario, the Panthers would have to move the incumbent Tre Boston — fresh off a contract extension — to a more typical strong safety spot. He has little experience playing there, but teams have viewed a possible switch as reasonable in the past.
Both Maye and Samuel will be in the last year of their deals in 2020 decreasing each of their values. But even though Samuel is younger, Maye is the better player and the Panthers throw in a late-round pick to sweeten the deal.
This might be the most appealing trade offer, but also the most unrealistic.
Next: 1. Trading with a division rival
1. Miami Dolphins
Trading with a division rival? It may seem unlikely, but don’t put anything past Joe Douglas. After dealing with the devil in the draft by exchanging picks with the New England Patriots, all bets are off at this point.
And there might be no team in football that needs a true center-field safety more than the Miami Dolphins.
At the moment, the Dolphins are expected to enter the 2020 season with the likes of Eric Rowe and Bobby McCain starting at safety. Neither should be considered a legitimate starting option, but in this case, Maye would be replacing McCain.
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McCain ranked 65th out of 88 eligible safeties in 2019 earning a lackluster 61.9 PFF grade. Maye would undoubtedly be a major improvement and an excellent addition to Miami’s revamped defense.
And with plenty of cap space in the coming years, they should have no trouble keeping him around long-term. For that reason, the Jets are able to snag one of the Dolphins’ two second-round picks in 2021.
However, they likely won’t be able to receive a second-round pick straight-up for Maye. With that in mind, the Jets send back a fifth-round pick in return.
The fit is obvious and if the Jets can overlook the notion of trading with a division rival, then the Dolphins seems like an ideal landing spot for Maye. Not to mention that Maye grew up just a few hours north of Miami and played his college ball at the University of Florida.
A homecoming could be in order if the Jets and Dolphins could look past their differences and make a deal that benefits both organizations.