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The NY Jets are preparing for what promises to be an eventful and chaotic offseason. With the salary cap shrinking for just the second time in league history, an abundance of players are expected to be on the move.
More than half the league is expected to be strapped for cap space meaning they will need to make moves to create financial flexibility. That includes outright releasing players and, of course, looking to shed salary in trades.
The Jets have the flexibility needed to capitalize on the trade market. Aside from free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft, expect the team to explore the trade market as they look to upgrade their roster this offseason.
We’ve already taken a look at a trio of offensive linemen the Jets could target in a trade — one of which is no longer a possibility. Here’s looking at you, Trent Brown.
But there are still plenty of other players who could be available in the coming days that the Jets might target. In this case, we’re looking specifically at the offensive side of the ball.
The Jets are in need of a major overhaul of pretty much their entire offense this offseason. Apart from a few notable standouts, the vast majority of their offense could use some improvements.
And while the more traditional routes such as free agency and the draft represent prime opportunities to address their needs, don’t be surprised to see general manager Joe Douglas dip his toes into the trade waters as well.
With that, let’s take a look at three non-quarterback (yes, no Deshaun Watson) trade targets on the offensive side of the ball.
Next: 3. David Njoku
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3. NY Jets trade target: David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns’ tight end David Njoku is no stranger to trade rumors. The former first-round pick has been the subject of various trade discussions over the past year or so, and they seem to have resurfaced this offseason.
After signing Austin Hooper to a massive deal in free agency and adding Harrison Bryant in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, there was talk that the Browns could move on from Njoku who had played in only four games the year before.
They ultimately didn’t, despite his request for a trade. And despite being healthy for much of the season, he failed to make much of an impact.
Njoku finished with just 19 catches for 213 yards and two touchdowns as he was rendered an afterthought with Hooper and Bryant entering the fold. But at just 24-years-old, he still has some untapped potential.
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The former Miami star finished the 2018 season with 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns as he emerged as one of the best young tight ends in football. But after an injury-riddled 2019 campaign, everything fell apart.
The Jets have their own young tight end who has followed a similar career trajectory in Chris Herndon. But that shouldn’t stop them from targeting a player like Nkoju.
Njoku is one of the most athletic tight ends in the league and could be a weapon in the passing game, either in-line or split out wide in the slot.
For a Day 3 pick, Njoku is someone the Jets should seriously consider.
Next: 2. Zach Ertz
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2. NY Jets trade target: Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Zach Ertz isn’t the player he used to be. At 30-years-old, it’s clear that his days of being one of the best tight ends in the league are behind him. But that doesn’t mean he can’t still be a valuable addition to any offense.
Ertz finished a career-low 36 catches for just 335 yards and a touchdown in 2020 as he battled injuries and saw Dallas Goedert take over as the primary tight end in Philadelphia’s offense.
As a result, Ertz finds himself the subject of trade rumors this offseason. And there’s talk that even if the Eagles can’t trade him, he’ll just be outright released.
Teams are interested, but it will have to come at the right price.
Ertz’s cap hit for any team trading for him will actually be quite reasonable as the Eagles will need to retain the majority of his 2021 salary. Still, for an aging tight end on the verge of being released, it’s hard to see him going for anything more than a Day 3 pick.
That’s fine for the Jets, though, who could add Ertz to form a very capable one-two punch at tight end. The eight-year veteran would give the Jets a veteran presence at tight end who could act as a security blanket in case Herndon falters again.
He would provide stability to the position and give whoever the Jets’ quarterback is in 2021 a veteran target in the passing game.
Ertz doesn’t have the upside that someone like Njoku does, but he would be very valuable depth and add another weapon to an offense that is desperate for help.
For the right price, it’s worth it.
Next: 1. Michael Gallup
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1. NY Jets trade target: Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Another player who has found himself the center of trade rumors for the past year has been Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup.
Gallup is a young, talented receiver who is coming off his second consecutive season where he topped 840 yards despite playing in a stacked wide receiver corps.
And it’s that very same wide receiver corps that could force him out of Dallas.
After signing Amari Cooper to a massive extension and selecting CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Gallup’s name was brought up in trade rumors given the Cowboys’ stacked receiver room.
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And one year later, with the organization strapped for cap space, Gallup could become expendable. Especially after the record-breaking extension given to quarterback Dak Prescott.
At just 25-years-old, Gallup is one of the more overlooked young wideouts in the NFL. He broke out in 2019 hauling in 66 catches for 1,107 yards despite playing alongside Amari Cooper.
And in 2020, he still finished with 59 catches for 843 yards playing the majority of the year with Andy Dalton at quarterback.
Any team trading for him, however, must be aware that he will be entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2021 meaning that a long-term extension would need to be reached in the near future.
Gallup would be the most expensive player on this list, but he would also fill both a short-term and long-term need. If he’s available as reports indicate, the Jets should be all over this.