The NY Jets have traded nose tackle Steve McLendon to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As first reported by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Jets are sending the veteran nose tackle to Tampa Bay reuniting him with his former head coach, Todd Bowles, who is currently the defensive coordinator for the Buccaneers.
Stroud is reporting that the Jets will receive a 2022 sixth-round pick in return while sending McLendon and a 2023 seventh-round pick back to Tampa Bay. So essentially, they gave him away for next to nothing.
McLendon was the longest-tenured member of the Jets prior to his departure having joined the team in the 2016 offseason as a free agent from Pittsburgh.
Now, the longest-tenured player on the roster is outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins — the only player to have been with the organization since the 2016 season.
The NY Jets will definitely miss Steve McLendon’s locker-room leadership.
McLendon spent the last five years with the team playing in 65 of 70 possible games. He hadn’t missed a game since his first season in green and white back in 2016.
And at age 34, he’s still going strong playing arguably the best football of his career. Just last season, McLendon ranked as the No. 12 overall interior defensive lineman in the NFL earning a Pro Football Focus grade of 81.3.
Aside from his impressive on-field performance, McLendon remained the heart and soul of the Jets’ locker room all the way up until his departure. Few players, if any, were more respected in the organization than McLendon.
But with the Jets clearly looking forward to the future, it isn’t a surprise to see a player like McLendon shipped away. If anything, this opens up more snaps for Folorunso Fatukasi who now won’t have to split playing time with McLendon at nose tackle.
With the Jets now 0-6 facing a lost season, don’t be surprised to see more veterans such as McLendon traded away in the coming days and weeks. The release of Le’Veon Bell may have only been the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
Steve McLendon was a widely-respected member of the Jets and he’ll surely be missed. But in all honesty, the Jets just did him the biggest favor imaginable.
They traded him away from this abysmal organization.