An edge rusher and a pair of receivers changed teams before Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, but the Jets didn’t make any deals.
The Jets desperately need help at those positions, but they held on to all of their draft picks and didn’t add any salary. The belief all along was the Jets wouldn’t give up assets for a rental or take on much money. With more than $90 million in cap space, the Jets remain in position to address their needs and be major players in the offseason.
The Jaguars dealt pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. to the Rams for a 2019 third-round pick and a 2020 fifth-rounder. The Jets were involved in discussions with the Jaguars, an NFL source confirmed. But Fowler is going to be a free agent, and that would have been a lot to give up for someone they can pursue in the offseason.
The Broncos traded receiver Demaryius Thomas and a seventh-round pick to the Texans for a No. 7, and the Lions sent Golden Tate to the Eagles for a third-rounder. Tate will be a free agent, and Thomas has $14 million coming to him next season.
The Jets (3-5) still could sign players to fill holes, but they’re going with what they have and hope it’s enough to make this season about something other than Sam Darnold’s development. That’s crucial, but the Jets still have eight games left, and the next two will determine whether they will be playing meaningful ones in December.
The Jets play back-to-back division games at Miami (4-4) and against Buffalo (2-6) before heading into their bye week. When they come out of it, they play the Patriots, so these next two games are must-wins. They’re already looking at Sunday in Miami as their biggest game of the season.
“It’s huge,” linebacker Avery Williamson said Tuesday during his weekly spot with Joe and Evan on WFAN. “In the grand scheme of things, we’re still in the thick of things. The season’s not over yet. There’s no need to panic. But we got to win this game. It would be huge for us to get this victory.
“I want to go out and get this W. If we can go into the bye week 5-5, that’d be huge and could change the momentum of the season.”
The Jets are 3-5 for the third straight season. They finished 5-11 the past two years, and certainly don’t want that to happen again. Their offense has staggered, the defense has given up big plays and penalties have hurt them badly in a two-game losing streak. They committed seven pre-snap penalties Sunday in Chicago.
“We didn’t come ready to play,” safety Jamal Adams said on WFAN’s “Carlin, Maggie and Bart” show. “We got punched in the mouth, as simple as that. We just didn’t come ready to play.”
Looking beyond the Patriots game Thanksgiving weekend, the Jets’ last three are against the AFC-South leading Texans, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers and at New England. It would be good for Darnold’s development if those games meant something. That’s what makes the next two games so important for the Jets.
“I know that there’s a lot of fight in this team,” Williamson said. “We’re not going to give up, we’re not going to lay down … We’ve got a good cohesive unit. What we have in the locker room is good. I like the group. I love the group. We’ve got to stop doing the dumb stuff and get over the hump of making so many mental errors.”
Bills sign ex-Jet Pryor.
Former Jets wide receiver Terrelle Pryor signed with the Bills, who visit MetLife next weekend. The Jets recently waived Pryor because of a groin injury, but Bowles left open the possibility they could bring him back when he was healthy.