INDIANAPOLIS (CBSNewYork) — The Jets are in a rare position — one where they actually might get to dictate terms for a change.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine, general manager Mike Maccagnan made it clear the Jets will deal the No. 3 overall pick in this spring’s draft if the price is right.
The shoe was on the other foot last year when the Jets, in desperate need of a young quarterback, traded the No. 6 overall pick and three second-round selections to the Colts to move up to No. 3. They then selected Sam Darnold and it appears they made the right decision as he gave every indication during his rookie season that he can be the franchise quarterback the Jets have been in search of for decades.
Now, coming off a rebuilding 4-12 season in 2018, the Jets find themselves with the No. 3 pick and with a need for a pass rusher, but luckily for them this draft is loaded with impact defensive lineman/edge talents. They can likely trade down and still fill the hole. But if they do stay where they are they could get one of defensive end Nick Bosa, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams or outside linebacker Josh Allen, the consensus top non-quarterbacks in the draft.
“As long as the trade made sense to us, there’s nothing that would stop us from doing that,” Maccagnan said. “When you think back to last year — I think I may have said this before — we felt very good about trying to position ourselves at 3 and part of it was what we would’ve had to give up in compensation. Honestly, that extra spot, from 3 to 2, probably would’ve cost us our future 1. But also, at the time, when we did the trade, we did a trade that we felt was maybe at a time when most people weren’t looking to do that. When people draw more attention to it, sometimes the cost becomes higher. As you get close to the draft, the same thing happens.”
This time around it appears the Giants might be the team looking to move up and grab a quarterback. They the No. 6 pick and might be thinking about finding the heir apparent to 38-year-old Eli Manning, who likely will play one final season with the Giants, according to head coach Pat Shurmur. Big Blue reportedly has interest in both Ohio State Dwayne Haskins and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma.
Maccagnan said he’s not worried about potentially trading with his team’s cross-town rival. The Jets and Giants haven’t done business together since 1983, when the Jets sent a conditional pick for a lineman who was quickly waived.
“We’ll cross that bridge if we get to it,” Maccagnan said. “Like every trade you do, we have charts, we have trade values. My personal opinion is, if you’re trying to go chase a quarterback, it’s what the market is, and then some. When we were moving to 3, we were moving to 3 to get a quarterback. In the end, we had a price we felt comfortable with and we felt, at that point in time, do the trade.”
The Jets’ roster figures to look vastly different by training camp. They have 26 unrestricted free agents. New head coach Adam Gase spoke to reporters on Wednesday, but, predictably, didn’t give much away about the team’s offseason plan. But it’s a sure bet he and Maccagnan will be looking to acquire some impact players on both sides of the ball.
“Entering free agency and the draft, I think we’re going to be able to really balance out our roster the way we want to,” Gase said. “It’s going to be about who’s available, how we can put this team together forward. I like a lot of the players that we already have after evaluating them. Sam’s really done a good job of getting better as the season progressed. Watching last year and he was injured and he came back from that, I thought he really made a jump there. And when you have a position to where he can make other players better.”
In addition to an edge rusher and the possibility of signing a big-ticket offensive player, like a Le’Veon Bell, he Jets’ wish list will likely include, among others, a wide receiver or two, offensive linemen and a cornerback.