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Jetting into the Trade Deadline

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by Nick Ferraro
The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday.  It’s usually a non-event as very few meaningful trades have occurred in-season historically in the NFL.  This deadline is likely to be no different than usual.  If the Jets are thoughtful about the remainder of 2006, they should look a little bit differently at this deadline than in previous years.  The 2006 Jets should consider being active before Tuesday. 
 
If the Jets can win at home Sunday against the Dolphins, their record for the season will stand at 3-3.  A .500 record is nothing to be too excited about, but it will mean that the Jets have navigated the most difficult part of their schedule with an even record, and it will guarantee at least a share of second place in the division.  The Jets have played the Patriots, Colts, and Jaguars in a span of four weeks.  No team has faced a tougher stretch.  It would have been nice if they could have pulled out a victory against the Colts, but at least they will not see another stretch like that in 2006.  In fact, the rest of the season sets up very nicely for them – nice enough that the Jets should be very interested in the trade deadline.
 
After Sunday, the Jets will have ten games left.  In seven of the ten games, the Jets will be facing teams with a record under .500.  The Jets have home games against the Lions, Texans, Bills, and Raiders; they will be on the road against the Browns, Packers, and Dolphins. I would expect the Jets to be favored in each of those four home games, and perhaps for the road game in Green Bay.  They will likely be slight underdogs at Cleveland and at Miami.  With a schedule like that, why shouldn’t the Jets be active before the trade deadline?  Winning six of those seven would mean a 9-7 record and shot at a playoff spot.  Wouldn’t it be nice even to be in the hunt?
 
I understand that the new front office has been very careful in building this Jets team with an eye toward the future – rightly so.  There are, however, moves the Jets should consider that would not be out of line with that vision for the future.  There are trades they can make that will make sense both this season and for the seasons to come.
 
The Jets have the added bargaining flexibility of an extra second round pick, and despite what appears on the surface to be a lackluster roster, they have players that would have value on the open market.  The proposals below would stay in line with the foundation the Jets began laying last offseason, and it would enhance their position, given their remaining schedule, to take a run at a nine or ten-win season.
 
1.      NY Jets send a 2nd-round pick in the 2007 NFL draft to the San Diego Chargers for RB Michael Turner.
 
Turner is only in his fourth year in the league, and he would fill the Jets critical need for RB.  He has never averaged less than 5.2 yards per carry.  Turner isn’t going to get on the field very often in San Diego with LT in front of him.  The Chargers will be happy to have an extra pick after spending the last few seasons without a full complement of draft picks. They also avert having an unhappy player in their clubhouse who feels he can play full time.
 
2.      NY Jets send WR Justin McCareins to the Baltimore Ravens for TE Doug Wilcox.
 
The Ravens have just nine catches on the season by WRs not named Mason or Clayton.  After being blanketed by the Denver secondary, the Ravens have to be looking to add another target for Steve McNair. McCareins does not appear able to impress Mangini, and he continues to collect dust on the bench.  Brian Billick may be persuaded to think he can return McCareins to his old form.  Wilcox has ability, is a decent blocker, and, like Turner, is only in his fourth year.  The Jet offense would look much different with a viable option in the middle of the field.
 
 
3.      NY Jets send DT Dewayne Robertson to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the Colt’s 2nd, and 3rd-round picks in the 2007 NFL draft.
 
Robertson has not filled the bill in the middle for the Jets who rank 28th against the rush so far.  The Jets can manage that type of production with someone else on the nose.  Robertson will not command more in terms of trade value than he does right now.  The Colts have to be desperate to add a big body to the middle of their defense, as they are one of the few teams worse against the rush than the Jets. Robertson may fit better for them in a 4-3 front.  The Jets have a chance to take advantage of the Colt’s win-now approach.  The extra picks can be used to move up next April should the Jets have a player in mind they’d like to target.  Worst case, the Jets have two more chances to get better come April.

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