The NY Jets and safety Marcus Maye are headed for an inevitable split sooner rather than later. That split could come as soon as within the next few weeks with the trade deadline fast approaching on November 2.
Marcus Maye will not be a member of the Jets in 2022. And if the team is looking to get something for him as opposed to letting him walk, exploring trade options makes sense.
But rather than go the expected route and deal him for draft capital, there could be a rare but intriguing player-for-player swap that makes sense. That swap involves Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard.
Could the NY Jets trade Marcus Maye for O.J. Howard?
Howard, like Maye, is playing on the final year of his deal and likely won't be with his current team at the start of the 2022 season.
A first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Howard has never lived up to expectations in the NFL with much of the blame being placed on external factors such as injuries and his team's inability to maximize his talent.
The former Alabama star has never been featured as a prominent part of Tampa Bay's offense and he's currently stuck behind both Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate on the depth chart.
Howard has found himself at the center of trade talks for quite literally years now and he could be a perfect target for the Jets who find themselves desperate for tight end help.
At just 26-years-old, Howard is young enough that he could be a part of the future while also giving rookie quarterback Zach Wilson an upgrade at the position for the second half of the season.
The Jets aren't necessarily in the business of shopping for players this fall, but Howard is a rare instance of a player available on the market who fills a major need and could be a part of the long-term plan.
As for Maye, while most Jets fans would probably like to get something of good value in return given the talented player that he is, the former Florida standout's value has plummeted over the last few months.
Maye's contract combined with his off-field baggage makes it unlikely the Jets get anything more than a Day 3 pick for him at this stage.
Still, the Buccaneers have dealt with plenty of injuries in their secondary and they could look to reunite Maye with his former head coach in Todd Bowles.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler even listed the Buccaneers as a possible landing spot for Maye earlier this month. It makes plenty of sense for both teams.
Now, Maye's trade value might be slightly higher than Howard's at this time meaning that the two teams could attempt to work out some sort of pick swap involving the players.
Perhaps the Jets trade Maye and a sixth-round pick for Howard and a fifth-round pick. Again, it's important to remember that Maye's value is at an all-time low right now.
Some will insist that the Jets should just let Maye walk to recoup the compensatory draft pick if that's the case. But it's unlikely the Jets would ever receive that compensatory pick as they're likely to spend more in free agency than they lose (thus disqualifying them from the compensatory formula).
The Jets are better off trading Maye than letting him walk. And if they do trade him, they could do a lot worse than a swap for O.J. Howard.
Player-for-player trades are rare, but this is one that makes sense for both sides if Tampa can make the financials work.