The NY Jets recognized that they had a hole at the right guard position and worked to address the issue. Unfortunately, teams don't just find quality offensive linemen laying around — especially in the middle of the season.
The options to upgrade over Greg Van Roten seemed almost nonexistent and most were preparing to watch the struggling veteran hold down the position for at least the rest of the season.
But somehow, someway, Jets general manager Joe Douglas found a way to trade for a starting-caliber guard at the deadline. And he did so for what essentially amounted to no cost at all.
The Jets sent backup tight end and special-teams regular Daniel Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs at the deadline in exchange for longtime starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
Just a few weeks later, Brown was waived by the Chiefs only to be re-signed to the Jets practice squad on Tuesday. The Jets had successfully acquired a starting-caliber offensive lineman for the cost of virtually nothing.
The Laurent Duvernay-Tardif trade is one of the best in recent NY Jets history
Since taking over as the Jets general manager in the summer of 2019, Joe Douglas has made his fair share of excellent trades. Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, and Chris Herndon are three examples of players who the Jets shipped away for significantly more value than they had any right receiving.
But his trade for Duvernay-Tardif might be the best deal he's made.
It's nearly impossible to find starting-caliber offensive linemen past May. Teams don't let quality linemen walk in free agency, and when they do, those players are paid a pretty penny.
There's a reason for that. Teams don't like to part ways with quality linemen. They don't even like to part ways with quality backups. Offensive line play is at an absolute premium in the NFL.
Yet, Douglas saw an opportunity with Duvernay-Tardif, a player who had started 57 career games, just sitting on the Chiefs' bench and he jumped at it.
The Chiefs wanted to clear cap space so they traded for the cheapest and perhaps least valuable player on the Jets' roster. The Jets acquired a player who, in just a few weeks, became their starting right guard.
That's a move that any team with a tiny bit of available cap space could have made. But the Jets were the ones that did it.
In just his second start back from a near-two-year absence, Duvernay-Tardif didn't allow a single pressure and finished with a Pro Football Focus pass protection grade north of 86.0.
It should not and cannot be overstated just how miraculous of a trade this was for Douglas and the Jets.
One look at the quality of offensive line play around the league immediately raises questions about why countless other teams didn't make this move.
But that doesn't matter, because the Jets did. And they continue to reap the rewards of it.