The NY Jets have already gotten a head start on the 2023 NFL trade deadline festivities, correcting an offseason mistake by trading wide receiver Mecole Hardman back to the Kansas City Chiefs. If the Jets want to upgrade, wide receiver still makes the most sense for Joe Douglas.
One player who is being criminally underutilized is Las Vegas Raiders slot wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. After catching 103 passes and topping 1,000 yards in Jon Gruden's final season with Las Vegas, Renfrow has just 44 catches in the last two years and eight this season following Josh McDaniels' decision to bury him in the depth chart.
Given the fact Randall Cobb is performing as poorly as any player at any position in the league, getting a Pro Bowl-level receiver for cheap could be one way Douglas improves the supporting cast around Zach Wilson. They could also unload a potential albatross contract.
The Jets have made Carl Lawson available via trade, as his declining production, paired with the emergence of younger alternatives like Jermaine Johnson and Bryce Huff, has made the former big fish free agent expendable. Both of these players could get fresh starts elsewhere.
NY Jets must trade Carl Lawson to Raiders for Hunter Renfrow
Renfrow's poor production is different from that of Panthers wide receiver and popular Jets target Terrace Marshall Jr. While Marshall is a young player who can't break into the worst wideout room in the league on an 0-6 team, Renfrow is the victim of schematic arrogance and coaching malpractice from Josh McDaniels.
Renfrow's contract will pay him a good chunk of change in the next two seasons, but imagine the results if he gets back to 2021 form. Garrett Wilson can be used downfield more while Renfrow vacuums up all of Cobb's targets. Renfrow would easily become the No. 2 option in the passing game if his rout running is still elite.
Lawson may have lost a step, but the Raiders could take a flier on him in order to beef up a poor defensive line. Maxx Crosby can't do everything by himself. With Chandler Jones' bizarre behavior earning him a release and top-10 pick Tyree Wilson struggling early on, Las Vegas would give Lawson the snaps he needs.
Lawson has been giving it everything he's got, but a change of scenery seems all but a necessity at this point. Giving him a chance to play in Las Vegas may also help the Jets land a dynamic, experienced receiver that Wilson will likely target early and often in an offense that wants the ball out of his hands as soon as possible.