INDIANAPOLIS — The Jets are open for business … even if it is a crosstown transaction.
General manager Mike Maccagnan said he is willing to trade back from the No. 3 pick in April’s draft, and he won’t rule out a trade with the Giants. The teams have only executed one trade in the past 40 years. The Giants are sitting at No. 6 in the draft and might need to move up to get a quarterback. Could the MetLife Stadium co-tenants make a deal?
“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.”
Last year, the Jets moved up from No. 6 to No. 3 in a trade with the Colts and wound up taking quarterback Sam Darnold with the pick. They sent three second-round picks to Indianapolis to jump up three spots. So, that could be viewed as the price for the Giants this year if they feel they need to make the move to get Dwayne Haskins or Kyler Murray.
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“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 last trade the Jets and Giants made was in 1983 — when the Jets sent a conditional pick to the Giants for lineman Chris Foote, who was waived a week later, nullifying the trade.
Trading back makes sense for the Jets, who have multiple holes on their roster to fill and could benefit from adding to the six picks they currently have.
“Right now we feel good at No. 3, but I’d definitely say if there’s an opportunity to trade down, we would absolutely look at it,” Maccagnan said. “There’s nothing that has transpired at this point in time. Last year we traded up to 3. We did that early. We did that in the early part of free agency, but I would say, like everything else, if we end up picking a player at 3, we’ll feel really good. If there’s an opportunity for us to move back and acquire more picks, that’s something we’d definitely be potentially interested in.”
Last year was about finding a franchise quarterback. The Jets feel like they did that by drafting Darnold. This year is about building around Darnold. The Jets have a league-high 26 players scheduled to hit free agency on March 13. New coach Adam Gase said that is a positive for them that they can really shape the roster the way they desire.
“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.”