The NFL trade deadline is less than a week away, and the general manager of the only winless team in the league is expected to be very busy.
Joe Douglas is not hanging a "For Sale" sign outside the Jets’ locker room. But the Jets will be sellers before the 4 p.m. Tuesday deadline.
They’ve already dealt veteran nose tackle Steve McLendon to Tampa and linebacker Jordan Willis to San Francisco for draft picks, and waived Le’Veon Bell when they couldn’t find a trade partner. Bell signed with Kansas City, which the Jets face on Sunday.
Douglas’ phone should be buzzing over the next week, with teams trying to see who else they can pry from the Jets.
One thing to remember is Douglas signed a six-year deal in 2019. He knew this was going to take a lot of work to turn the Jets into a playoff team.
It’s safe to presume that the players from the 2020 draft – Douglas’ first as GM – are on solid footing.
The Jets already have begun a youth movement with rookie running back La’Mical Perine being featured more. Rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton certainly is untouchable. Rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims is healthy and should be targeted often in the offense.
But many players on the current roster were not hand-picked by Douglas. They’re from the past regime. If Douglas can get more draft capital by dealing some players that he didn’t acquire and aren’t in his plans, he won’t hesitate to make a move. Here are some names to watch:
Avery Williamson: The veteran linebacker was the subject of trade rumors in the offseason, and at one point there was rumblings that the Jets would waive him. But Williamson became an important player after C.J. Mosley opted out because of concerns about the coronavirus. Williamson is the Jets’ second-leading tackler, and he missed one game. His three-year, $22.5 million deal is expiring.
Jordan Jenkins: The longest-tenured Jet fits in the same category as Williamson. Jenkins is a true pro who has value and can help a contender. Jenkins signed a one-year deal for roughly $4 million. He’s been a part of only losing teams. If a playoff team calls, the Jets may try to do "the right thing" as Adam Gase said when they sent McLendon to the Bucs.
Marcus Maye: He became the Jets’ Swiss-Army Knife player when All-Pro safety Jamal Adams was traded to Seattle. Maye is lining up all over, but he hasn’t had nearly the same impact as Adams. Maye is a young player, still on his rookie deal and in line for a new contract. The Jets like him, but he’s someone who potentially could get the Jets a Day 2 draft pick.
Quinnen Williams: The No. 3 pick in 2019, Williams is just starting to emerge on defense. He was one of the players that Douglas deemed untouchable last year when he took calls on Adams, Bell and Robby Anderson. There was a report on Tuesday that the Jets are shopping Williams, but a league source shot that down. The Jets have received calls for Williams, but Douglas has turned them away, the source said. He may continue to resist unless he gets an offer for Williams that he can’t refuse.
Chris Herndon: The Jets had high hopes for the third-year tight end, but he has had a disappointing season. Herndon didn’t start two weeks ago, hasn’t had a catch the last two games, and has been targeted only seven times over the last four games. You don’t want to give up on a promising young player too soon, but Douglas has to listen if teams call about Herndon.
Henry Anderson: The veteran defensive lineman hasn’t had one sack since his seven-sack 2018, and his snap counts have been on the decline. Anderson’s 2021 salary is not guaranteed.
The secondary: The Jets have other seasoned veterans in the defensive backfield in the last years of their deals who could garner some interest: safety Bradley McDougald, and cornerbacks Brian Poole and Pierre Desir.