What if the NY Jets had the chance to steal one player from each division rival?
But it’s hard to argue that there aren’t plenty of teams with more complete rosters out there.
Perhaps some of those teams are in their own division — a division that finally looks winnable for the first time in decades. At the very least, there are certainly players on those teams that the Jets could benefit from adding to their roster.
And that got me thinking. What if the Jets could steal one player from each of their division rivals?
Look, hear me out for a moment. It’s June. We’re currently living in a world devoid of pretty much all sports. Rather than focus on the reality of our situation, why not partake in a little fantasy roster building?
This isn’t analysis. This isn’t meant to be a season preview. It’s not even meant to be a scouting report of the Jets’ divisional foes.
Instead, this is purely for the sake of fun — to shake things up a little. Please direct your complaints elsewhere.
With that, let’s take a look at the player that the Jets would steal from each AFC East team if they magically had that opportunity.
Next: 1. Buffalo Bills
1. NY Jets steal Stefon Diggs from the Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills managed to add some firepower to their offense this offseason with their star-studded trade for former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
And in many ways, the Diggs addition was the final cherry on top of what has been a fantastic offensive rebuild over the past two seasons. A rebuild that many Jets fans wish their team copied.
Diggs will provide Josh Allen with a true No. 1 wide receiver and give the team its best offensive playmaker. But what if instead of Allen throwing to him it was Sam Darnold?
The Jets have one of the most questionable wide receiver groups heading into 2020 with Jamison Crowder the only dependable starting option. But Diggs would take the offense to a whole new level and instantly make Darnold’s life a lot easier.
The former fifth-round pick has put together back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns and developed into one of the best wide receivers in the league. And he’d immediately become the best wide receiver that Darnold has ever played with in the NFL.
Diggs wasn’t the only player considered here. Dion Dawkins was considered as a possible upgrade at right tackle opposite Mekhi Becton. And take your pick of the Bills many standout defensive players.
Tre’Davious White was certainly the most intriguing given the team’s lack of a true No. 1 cornerback and the friendship he and Jamal Adams formed while playing together at LSU.
But Diggs provides the most value and is arguably the most talented player on the Bills. At the end of the day, this wasn’t much of a discussion.
Next: 2. Miami Dolphins
2. NY Jets steal Byron Jones from the Miami Dolphins
While the Buffalo Bills and perhaps even the New England Patriots host a better roster than the Jets, the one team the Jets can confidently say that they have a more talented roster than is the Miami Dolphins.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a handful of players that would be beneficial to poach. One of those players is newly-signed cornerback Byron Jones.
Jones was part of a complete defensive makeover that the Dolphins underwent in the offseason primarily through the means of free agency. Even with the likes of Kyle Van Noy and Shaq Lawson signed in free agency, Jones was undoubtedly their biggest addition.
The former Dallas Cowboys star made the Pro Bowl in 2018 and has consistently graded out as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. Now, after signing a massive five-year, $82.5 million contract in the offseason, he’s paid like it as well.
The contract is hefty but Jones is still young enough (27-years-old) and good enough to warrant the sizable payday. And for a Jets team needing a true No. 1 cornerback, Jones would be a huge addition.
While help on offense remains a priority for the Jets, the only player worth taking a look at on the Dolphins is wide receiver DeVante Parker. You could certainly make the argument that Parker is the better add given his smaller salary and fantastic play in 2019.
But the former Louisville standout has an extensive injury history and never seemed to click in Adam Gase’s system. Combine that with the fact that he has just one season of production and there’s certainly a fair amount of risk at play.
Jones may be pricy, but he’s worth it.
Next: 3. New England Patriots
3. NY Jets steal Joe Thuney from the New England Patriots
The New England Patriots have made a habit out of signing former Jets players, so it would certainly feel good to turn the tables on them for a change. And in this case, they’d be able to land a pretty great player in the process.
I opted for the latter.
Gilmore is a phenomenal player who’s arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. And as we’ve already discussed, cornerback is one of the Jets’ biggest roster weaknesses.
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But Gilmore will be 30-years-old in September and is only signed through 2021. He’s an incredible talent and pairing him up with Jamal Adams in the secondary could place the best cornerback and safety in the NFL on the same defense.
That would be a scary sight indeed. But it wouldn’t be the right move for the Jets to make.
Addressing cornerback would be nice, but the Jets don’t need defensive help nearly as much as they need it on offense. And as was the priority this offseason, building the offensive line remains the utmost important thing the team could do.
That’s why Thuney is the better pick.
The 27-year-old is one of the best guards in the game today and would instantly provide stability to an offensive line unit that looks improved on paper, but comes with its fair share question marks.
He’ll need a new contract after next offseason, but he’s young enough that you don’t have to worry about the idea of forking over a ton of money on a long-term extension.
The Jets’ defense is already stout without Gilmore. Meanwhile, adding talent around Darnold and the offense must continue to be the Jets’ top priority.
And there’s no better way to do that than by stealing away one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL from your arch-rivals.
If only this were reality.