Last year, the Jets prematurely jumped from No. 6 to No. 3 for fear that someone else (possibly the Bills) would beat them to the punch. This year, the Jets apparently have been trying to move the third pick before the draft, and they have yet to strike a deal.
There’s a good reason for that. Teams usually trade up not for a spot but for a player. Last year, the Jets wanted a position — quarterback — and were willing to risk that both Baker Mayfield (the guy some believe they preferred at the time) and Sam Darnold would be taken before they selected, leaving them to choose between pivoting to running back Saquon Barkley or picking Josh Allen, who eventually would go to Buffalo, a team that traded up to No. 7 while that pick was on the clock.
This year, there’s simply too much uncertainty at the top of the draft to allow a team to jump to the third spot before knowing what happens with the first two. And the identity of the Jets’ potential trade partners could dramatically change based on what happens with those first two selections.
Ultimately, the Jets will be trading (if they do) not the third pick but Kyler Murray or Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams or whoever a team trading up for that pick wants to draft before someone else can. And it doesn’t affect the Jets to trade down while on the clock, because they’ll still be in position to be leap-frogged wherever they land, whether they slide down before or during the draft.
The Jets are surely smart enough to realize these dynamics, and to understand that a pre-on-the-clock trade was always going to be unlikely. If nothing else, anyone and everyone inclined to move up to get Murray or Bosa or Williams or a different player now knows that there’s a window to do so, and the Jets surely have had or will have had those conversations about what the price will be long before the 10 minutes of sand begin to slide out of the top of the hourglass.