New York Jets GM Joe Douglas just spent three offseasons crafting the roster that he believes will finally be competitive. After a 2022 draft class that has analysts across the NFL applauding, the final touches are about to be added… Or rather subtracted. As a disciple of former Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, accumulating draft picks is a vital part of the team building process. If it weren’t for key trades involving Leonard Williams, Jamal Adams, and Sam Darnold the Jets would not have commanded the draft assets necessary for their recent haul of rookies. The roster has a surplus of talent at long last, so it’s time to look at three players who could be traded away to replenish those draft picks.
5 New York Jets who are Trending Up: Offense
5 New York Jets who are Trending Up: Defense
Denzel Mims, WR, #11
Denzel Mims’ career has been a rollercoaster up to this point. After two different hamstring issues in his rookie year, Mims finished the season with 23 receptions for 357 yards and zero touchdowns. On the surface that is certainly unspectacular. Look a little deeper, and you’ll find that after missing the first six weeks to injury, Mims had a consecutive six game stretch posting 54 receiving yards per game. Go a little further still and you’ll find that many of these yards came from impressive contested catches down the field. The season as whole was disappointing, but there was more than enough there to generate legitimate optimism for his future in the NFL.
It’s hard to imagine how such a promising rookie season devolved into a sophomore slump for the ages. In 2021 Mims totaled only 133 yards despite being active for more games. He also posted an abysmal 34.8% catch rate, and compiled as many penalties (five) as first downs. It all started with a reported bout with food poisoning prior to training camp in 2021. He lost a significant amount of weight, and never seemed to get his confidence back afterwards. He dropped down the depth chart, and even his in-game opportunities exhibited a player lacking confidence and focus.
Why a Trade?
So why would he even be a desirable trade option for other teams? The answer comes in three parts. Firstly, the coaches have publicly commended his fresh mentality and physical conditioning in OTA’s. Reporters who have attended live practices have praised his playmaking as well. Training camp and the preseason will be an important stretch for Mims, but his current trajectory is a great start to portraying a new beginning. Secondly, looking back at his 2020 film will have multiple teams talking themselves into his upside. Thirdly, there are plenty of offenses that don’t demand such versatility and will value Mims’ vertical playmaking ability. With two years remaining on his rookie contract, the risk is minimal.
The Jets may like Mims enough to keep him around, but a decent offer would likely pry him away. The Jets’ top four receiver positions are locked down by Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, Garrett Wilson, and Braxton Berrios. It’s great to have depth, but a fifth receiver with limited versatility and no real special teams value isn’t ideal. If Mims continues to impress in camp, he may ultimately be worth more in draft compensation.
Mike White, QB, #5
Mike White is in the rare situation of being an expendable folk hero. After spending the first three years of his career as a practice squad player at best, White secured the backup QB job with the 2021 Jets. Many analysts and fans criticized the Jets for not adding a veteran backup, but it was only Zach Wilson’s knee injury that finally encouraged the Jets to acquire one. Since Joe Flacco had barely arrived, the NFL world mentally prepared for the 26 year old to make his first start.
Little did they know at the time that White would go on to record 405 passing yards, and beat the eventual AFC Champion Bengals in the process. White displayed remarkable efficiency, and despite two interceptions he completed 37 passes. In addition to three touchdown passes, White capped the game with a reception on a two point conversion attempt. The performance cemented White as a Jets legend, and the Hall of Fame even requested his game jersey.
Why a Trade?
The Jets have two capable backup QB’s, but only one of them brings valuable veteran experience. Joe Flacco’s tenure and accomplishments offer the young Zach Wilson too much wisdom to ignore. The Jets simply don’t need three quarterbacks for the regular season. While either player would suffice in a vacuum, the presence of a Super Bowl champion in the QB room is hard to argue with.
It’s unlikely that other NFL teams would view White as their starter, but a contending team with a veteran QB would be a great landing spot for him. He has proven that he can step in and be an effective passer and leader on short notice, and that’s a surprisingly rare commodity. Any team that needs a backup, but isn’t missing veteran experience should probably be calling the Jets sooner rather than later. Sure he has limited physical upside, but he can step in and finish with a game on the line.
Bryce Huff, DE, #47
Those who don’t follow the Jets probably have absolutely no idea who Bryce Huff is. It’s understandable considering his humble NFL roots, undrafted from the AAC. Yet Huff has flashed in his opportunities, and despite being a 2020 UDFA he has already played in 23 games. In 2021, he started the first six games and had his best showing against Tennessee, logging three QB hits, 1.5 sacks, and a TFL. Unfortunately injury derailed his season, much like the rest of the Jets’ pass rushers. While Huff is an explosive edge rusher who has shown flashes in occasional coverage snaps, he does leave you wanting more in run defense. Fortunately for him, pass rushing is the most valuable defensive skill in the game.
Why a Trade?
The Jets surely would love to continue developing their homegrown UDFA, but frankly they are loaded on the edge. If Carl Lawson appears to be fully healthy to start the season, there may be too many talented bodies to justify keeping Huff. Lawson, Jermaine Johnson II, Jacob Martin, Michael Clemons, and versatile lineman John Franklin-Myers all take priority over Huff. Even if there are questions about Lawson’s achilles, veteran Vinny Curry might beat him out with his leadership traits and experience.
Bryce Huff is a young, cheap, explosive situational pass rusher. There is always a place for players like him in the league, and at worst he would be claimed off waivers. It would likely benefit some team out there to offer a late round pick to skip the waiver process.
Follow Max on Twitter: @TheMaxDean
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