Thanks to a considerable amount of patience in last year's rebuilding year, the New York Jets are armed with a lot of ammo heading into this year's draft.
With eight tradable draft picks (and an extra third-round pick coming from the Darrelle Revis trade, plus an undetermined amount of non-tradable compensatory picks), the Jets are armed with a lot of flexibility in the draft-day trade market.
The Jets were traders in the previous regime under Mike Tannenbaum, acquiring players such as Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller and Mark Sanchez through the trade channels. The question now is whether or not Tannenbaum'spredecessor, John Idzik, is willing to be anywhere near as aggressive in moving up and down the board.
Given their relatively large amount of needs and lack of depth, the Jets are more likely to move down and acquire picks than move up to get a specific player at the cost of a valuable draft pick. Given the alleged depth of this draft, this is an excellent year to stockpile rookies.
NFL Network's Mike Mayock, in pre-combine conf call w/ media, calls this probably deepest draft he's seen in 10 yrs. Especially deep at WR.— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) February 18, 2014
Still, there is no telling whether or not the Jets' favorite prospect will unexpectedly drop down the board and stir temptations.
Here are a few trades the Jets could start to contemplate, all of which were estimated by the trade value chart at ProFootballTalk.
Trade 1: Trade 18th pick for San Francisco 49ers' 23rd and 77th picks
The 49ers and the Jets find themselves in a similar situation, both in desperate need of young wide receiver help. Having whiffed on A.J. Jenkins in 2011 and Anquan Boldin approaching the end of his career, the Niners must get themselves back in the receiver market this offseason.
The difference between the 49ers and Jets, however, is that the 49ers are a much more complete team than the Jets. Having made three straight championship game appearances (including one Super Bowl), the Niners adding one stud rookie may be the difference between a championship and another heart-crushing ending.
This year's class features a handful of receiver prospects that are worthy of a first-round selection, but there is no telling which order they will be drafted in after Sammy Watkins. If the right prospect starts to tumble down the board, the 49ers may start to get the itch to move up.
Why the Jets? Looking at the draft order, the Jets are the first team to pick before the 49ers that has a glaring weakness at the receiver position. The Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles all have much more glaring issues on their rosters to deal with first. Doing business with the Jets would eliminate one more team in line for one of the draft's top receivers.
Meanwhile, the Jets would pick up a nice early- to mid-round pick that they could use to bolster their depth even further. Plus, given the fact that their receiving corps is so thin to begin with, just about anyone they pick (short of the second coming of Stephen Hill) would be an upgrade of what they currently have at the position.
Trade 2: Jets trade 49th, 111th and 179th picks to Oakland Raiders for 36th pick
There are not may scenarios in which the Jets would be in a position to move up, but they could be interested in doing so if one of the first-round receivers slips into the top of the second round.
Also, if the Jets are in love with one of the receivers in the second tier, such as Jared Abbrederis, Jordan Matthews or Jarvis Landry, they may not want to risk losing out on a chance to draft one of them.
The Raiders, on the other hand, are in no position to turn down many offers to trade down given the state of their barren roster. They need an influx of cheap, young talent as much as any team in the league and would likely jump at the chance to add an extra player to their rookie class.
In fact, the Raiders' relative desperation for young talent (and the depth of this draft class) may cause them to be more willing to accept a lesser offer than what the trade chart may indicate.
Obviously, the downside to this deal for the Jets is that the move would cost them two extra picks to move up in the second round. The Jets could choose to trade an one earlier pick to save themselves a later pick, but they have a buffer of late-round picks to fall back on.
Because of their quiet free agency period last year, the Jets are expected to get up to four compensatory picks. Compensatory picks are not tradable, but they do give the Jets more flexibility to play with their "regular" picks without coming home with a full draft class.
Trade 3: Jets trade Kyle Wilson to Jacksonville Jaguars for 101st pick
Kyle Wilson's career may have gotten off to a rocky start for a former first-round pick, but he quietly turned in what was by far the best season of his career in 2013. While he did not make many spectacular plays to make the highlight reel, a case can be made for Wilson as the best slot cornerback in the NFL.
Jets CB Kyle Wilson leads the league with only 0.38 Yards/Cover Snap in the slot— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 20, 2013
While the Jets would love to have this type of production from the slot cornerback position this year (and beyond), they have to consider the benefits of parting ways with Wilson a year early (he will be a free agent in 2015).
Meanwhile, the Jaguars still have a ways to go in improving their 25th-ranked secondary, even a year after adding some young talent in the draft (Jonathan Cyprien, Dwayne Gratz) and free agency (Alan Ball). With so much youth in their defensive backfield, adding a proven commodity could be a welcome idea.
A fourth-round pick may seem a bit low for a player coming off such a stellar season, but the fact that Wilson only has one year left on his contract destroys much of his value. The Jaguars are not just trading for Wilson—they are acquiring the responsibility to signing him to a long-term extension, much like the Jets did with Chris Ivory a year ago.
This will mean that the Jets have one more hole to fill in the draft, but it will also open up cap room in the future, as they will no longer have to sign Wilson to an extension. Instead, they can use their newly acquired pick to replace him (or fill another roster hole) at a much cheaper rate.
Will John Idzik Change His Philosophy?
Outside of their trade for Chris Ivory last year, the Jets were relatively idle in Idzik's first draft as general manager of the Jets, electing to sit tight and wait for the board to fall to them than attack it head-on. For the most part, the strategy worked, as several of their rookies—including Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson—contributed to their surprising 8-8 record.
It is unlikely that Idzik would transform himself into Mike Tannenbaum 2.0 and work the phones all day long looking for a trade, but there is still much to be learned about Idzik's personality in the war room.
Idzik could turn out to be an aggressive trader at heart (after all, he did trade Darrelle Revis), and it just so happened that he only found one opportunity to do so last year.
With raised expectations and more chess pieces to work with, there is no telling exactly how the draft will play out for John Idzik's Jets.