With two weeks to go until the NFL draft, you are bound to start hearing chatter about teams moving up or moving back. Just yesterday, the Los Angeles Rams traded up to the first pick in the draft (presumably for a QB) and are now on the clock. Tony Pauline confirmed through a source that the Jets were very close to completing a deal with the Rams themselves. Clearly the Jets want to add a quarterback in this draft, and it’s become more apparent that they are willing to move up to do it. Wherever you land on the question, and we’ll discuss that in a separate article on TOJ, the first domino that needs to fall is the Jets trading their Pro Bowl DE Muhammed Wilkerson. Here are 6 trades that the Jets could explore for Mo over the next couple of weeks…
1. Tennessee Titans for a second and a third round pick.
Why? The Titans made off with a haul for the first pick in the draft, as not only did they get picks in this draft but they also got the Rams 1st and 3rd in next year’s draft. This gives them a prime opportunity to add a lot of young cost effective talent on a team that doesn’t have many impact players. However, turning one of those 2s and one of the 3s they now possess for a 26 year old Pro Bowl defensive lineman that is unquestionably better than anyone they would take at these spots is a coup for them. Wilkerson gives them a leader on defense to pair with last year’s free agent signing Brian Orakpo, and this trade gives the Jets 5 out of the first 95 picks to move up for a QB or stand pat and add youth to the roster.
Why? This would allow the Jets to both shed Wilkerson’s massive cap hit to a team that can absorb it, as well as leapfrog the other team reportedly interested in a QB in Philadelphia. Assuming that the Rams go QB, there’s a good chance Cleveland doesn’t due to the RG3 signing and the presence of Josh McCown. They may opt to go OL or even defense. Heck, I even think there’s an outside chance they take Ezekial Elliott at 2 to replace the underutilized Duke Johnson. If Cleveland passes, the next team that could be in the QB market is San Francisco followed by Philadelphia inexplicably. The Jets need to get in front of those teams to have their pick of whichever QB slides (whether Goff or Lynch). This pick gives San Francisco a stud defensive lineman and they remain in the first round, while the Jets go up and get their QB.
3. Cleveland Browns along with the 20th pick, the 51st pick overall, a 5th rounder this year, and a 2nd rounder next year for the 2nd overall pick and a 4th rounder.
Why? If you REALLY want to ensure that you leapfrog all the potential teams that may take a QB, then your best bet is to go all the way up to number 2. This price may seem steep to some, but when you have a chance to get a franchise QB no price is too steep. The Jets are able to turn Mo Wilkerson into the guy they believe is their franchise QB and an extra 4th rounder, and Hue Jackson gets a leader of his defense and the ability to take a WR (Josh Doctson or Laquan Treadwell at 20) that will help whoever his QB is. The extra 2nd, also, lets the Browns target a RB like Derrick Henry or Paul Perkins while using their own second to shore up the line backing core. The Jets get their QB and can use the first of their 4th round picks to target an defensive playmaker like Joshua Perry.
4. Chicago Bears with the 20th pick for the 11th pick and the Bears 3rd round pick.
Why? The Bears have the hole on the defensive line, the cap space to pay Wilkerson, and have been a trade partner for the Jets in the recent past. Dealing Wilkerson and your first to go up to 11, again a move designed to get whatever QB is falling at that moment, presents a lower level of risk since you’re not giving up a cache of picks. This trade also nets you a third round pick, which you can then turn into an OL like Vadal Alexander that can push Brian Winters for a starting job this season. This move won’t guarantee you one of the top two QBs taken (presumably Goff and Wentz) but it does most likely get you Paxton Lynch.
5. To the Oakland Raiders, along with the 20th pick, the 51st pick, a 5th rounder, and a 3rd rounder next year for the 14th pick overall and a 5th rounder next year
Why? The Raiders have been linked to Mo Wilkerson all offseason and are in the position to reap the benefits of being a team that already has a QB. Operating under the premise that, again, Cleveland doesn’t take a QB at 2 and San Diego’s definitely not taking a QB at 3, the Jets would have to worry about San Francisco and Philadelphia both taking signal callers. Say Carson Went goes first, and then Jared Goff goes 7th to San Francisco Philadelphia could take Paxton Lynch. However, having shelled out $30 million to two quarterbacks and THEN drafting a third quarterback doesn’t seem like smart roster building. The next spot that a QB could be taken is 19 by Buffalo, who seem to have done extensive work on Paxton Lynch. The Jets would need to leapfrog Buffalo, and the target could be the 14th spot. Oakland sitting in the 14th spot could auction off the pick to the highest bidder because they do not have many needs other than safety and corner and Jalen Ramsey is probably going 3rd to the Chargers. Getting some picks back would be nice, but why not add a stud defensive lineman to a defense that has undergone a major upgrade this offseason? Khalil Mack, Aldon Smith, Sean Smith and Bruce Irvin are a beastly core four but now if you add Mo Wilkerson with those two edge rushers? Your defense becomes that tougher to block up front. The 20th and 51st picks give them options to add players like Reggie Ragland at MLB and Vernon Hargreaves at corner. Leaving the draft with Hargreaves and Smith at corner and Wilkerson Ragland joining Mack in the front seven is beastly. This trade all but guarantees the Jets gets the QB that slips past Philadelphia and San Francisco.
Why? The Jaguars added Chris Ivory this offseason to continue bolstering an improving offense that has studs. Gus Bradley, former defensive coordinator of the Seahawks defense, has yet to yield an actually good unit on that side of the ball. They signed Malik Jackson this year to improve their front 7, but they are still missing a game changer up front. Dante Fowler Jr. returns next season from injury and will probably slot into one of the DE positions. Wilkerson, with his flexibility to play both the 3 technique and 5 technique, could slot into the opposite DE position or even one of the DT positions. Getting the 20th pick allows Jacksonville to add an OLB like Leonard Floyd or Shaq Lawson, and the 51st pick let’s them potentially add another weapon for Blake Bortles. The Jets get to go all the way up to 5 and land right in front of arguably their two biggest threats to take a QB. I don’t buy for one second that Dallas will take a QB at 4 considering they are trying to maximize the end of Tony Romo’s career. The Jets get to take whichever one of the QBs falls, and the Jaguars get a stud for their defense.
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