Last year, the Jets traded up from No. 6 to No. 3 weeks before the draft. This year, the Jets hold the No. 3 pick, and their G.M. has made it clear that they’re willing to trade it.
With all teams gathering in Arizona for the NFL’s 2019 annual meeting, it’s the perfect place to wheel and to deal and to maybe get something done.
But here’s the thing that made the Jets’ move in 2018 risky, and that makes it harder to convince someone to pull the same trigger now. If a quarterback-needy team makes the climb to No. 3 a month before the draft, an engraved invitation to leapfrog the new No. 3 team will have been supplied to any/every other team that would like to draft one of the top quarterbacks.
Last year, the Jets were reasonably confident that a top-flight quarterback would be available at No. 3, with the consolation prize being generational tailback Saquon Barkley. This year, it’s possible that Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins will be gone with the first two picks. Unless the team that would move to No. 3 will be happy to pivot to someone like Nick Bosa, the much safer play would be to make the move to No. 3 once picks No. 1 and No. 2 had been taken.
That same reasoning applied last year to the Jets, but the thinking was that the Colts had other options (like the Bills) for a trade out of No. 3. This year, there’s apparently no sense yet of multiple teams clamoring to get in position behind the Cardinals and 49ers at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
Timing won’t matter to the Jets; the goal will be to get the best possible deal. And if waiting to see who’s left after the first two picks is what it takes, then that’s what the Jets will have to do.