NY Jets wide receiver Elijah Moore is unhappy. Moore was absent from Thursday's practice for what head coach Robert Saleh referred to as a "personal day." In reality, it was an attempt at allowing cooler heads to prevail.
Moore has been frustrated with his usage in the Jets' offense this season with the situation coming to a head this week after the second-year wide receiver made his frustrations clear in a series of tweets.
Moore was excused from practice on Thursday after having conversations with both Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. Needless to say, those conversations didn't defuse the situation.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported later that day that Moore had formally requested a trade from the organization, but that the Jets had no intentions of honoring that request.
NY Jets WR Elijah Moore has strangely decided to request a trade
This is a bizarre stance that Moore has decided to take made even odder by the fact that he doesn't exactly have much leverage in the situation. It just feels like an extreme overreaction given the circumstances.
Moore has played more snaps than any Jets wide receiver this year. His 29 targets may rank fifth on the team, but that figure is just four fewer than Corey Davis who ranks second. The Jets have spread the ball around a ton — it's not as if Moore has been an afterthought.
Game flow has also dictated the Jets' offensive usage over the last two weeks. With the team finding success on the ground and, more importantly, leading, the Jets have deployed more 21 personnel and taken snaps away from all wide receivers not named Corey Davis.
Davis is a strong run blocker who's integral to the run game. That's not Moore's specialty which is why his snap share has decreased.
Have the Jets maximized Moore's abilities this season? Absolutely not. The former second-round pick has just 16 catches through six games and has often been deployed as a decoy to help clear out the middle of the field.
Per Jets X Factor's Michael Nania, Moore has run a go route on 33 percent of his routes this season. The Jets have used Moore as a downfield decoy to open up the intermediate passing game for guys like Corey Davis and Garrett Wilson.
Moore is right to have his qualms. It makes sense for him to discuss his usage with LaFleur as it would benefit the Jets to get him more involved in the offense. But that's where it should end. The rest reeks of an overreaction by a frustrated player.
Moore's frustrations are valid, but the Jets are 4-2. They've won their last three games, due in part to their newfound success in the running game. Not to mention, it's Week 7. It's probably best not to make rash decisions based on a small sample size.
Yet, that's exactly what Moore has done. Instead of bringing his frustrations to the Jets coaching staff and working together to solve the issues, he's made things public and gone all-out trade request after just six games.
That's a bizarre move on his part. It's even more bizarre when you consider the leverage he has.
NY Jets WR Elijah Moore has no leverage in this situation
Moore has no leverage. He's not some star wide receiver looking for a new contract. He's a 22-year-old wideout in the second year of his rookie contract with just 17 games under his belt. He has 741 career yards in those 17 games.
No team is giving up significant draft capital for a player with those numbers, especially one who just pulled this stunt. More importantly, what incentive do the Jets have to trade him?
General manager Joe Douglas has never been one to trade players away for less than he believes they're worst. Heck, he refused to trade Denzel Mims for anything less than a fourth-round pick this summer. Obviously, no team was biting at that offer.
If the Jets wouldn't trade Mims for anything less than a fourth, what do you think it'll take to trade Moore? Whatever it is, they're not going to get it.
Moore can't force his way out because he still has 2.5 years remaining on his rookie contract and the Jets won't trade him because they likely won't get equal value.
The only leverage Moore has would be to go full-on Jamal Adams and try to figuratively burn Florham Park to the ground. Make so much noise that the team has to trade him. But Adams was able to do that because he was an established All-Pro. Moore hasn't proven anything yet.
So we're just stuck then. Moore is unhappy with his usage. The Jets are unhappy with Moore's decision to make a public trade request. It's hard to believe this situation is going over well in the locker room either.
The most likely short-term outcome will see Moore left as a healthy scratch on Sunday. What the future holds beyond that is hard to say, but it seems unlikely that Moore will be dealt barring some team stepping up with a lucrative offer.
Elijah Moore's trade request feels like a bizarre overreaction to an issue that could have been kept in-house. It feels like a player misjudging their leverage and making a less-than-ideal situation even worse.
Perhaps there's more to this story, but it's hard to have sympathy for Moore given what we know at this time.