As is the case with any move made by any NFL GM nowadays, Mike Maccagnan’s seemingly brilliant move to secure the third overall pick in April’s draft has had its share of critics from fans who, apparently, haven’t had enough of the days of Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and perhaps even Brooks Bollinger.
Then of course there are those members of the national media whose job it is to appear informed while repeating the same old boring criticisms of the Jets that they’ve worked so hard to recall and regurgitate. Take for example, this gem from Bill Simmons, who, like most of his colleagues, has no idea how much the Jets have spent on the quarterback position (it’s $5.5 million) but shares with his followers that the number is $25 million.
So the Jets spent 25 million in 2018 cap space and gave up picks 37, 49 and a 2019 second to jump 3 spots and end up with Bridgewater, McCown and the 3rd best rookie QB in a polarizing hit-or-miss QB draft? I just want to make sure I have this straight.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 17, 2018
It almost seems like Simmons is angry about something here, but I suppose when you’ve been fired so many times that you make Ryan Fitzpatrick’s career look stable, you’ll find fault in just about anything, whether it’s based on fact or fantasy.
Despite some of the desperate attempts to make the move look like a bad one for the Jets, the facts surrounding it continue to dwarf the notion that this deal was the wrong one to make. When you take in to consideration the need to move up, the timing of the deal, and yes, even the compensation provided, the trade makes sense from every possible angle.
The top complaint among those Jets fans who found fault in Maccagnan’s decision was the number of draft picks the team lost in the swap. In giving up picks 6, 37, 49 and next year’s second rounder, it’s a net loss of three picks. “How are they supposed to build through the draft if we’re giving away all of our picks”? is the question many are asking. Well, here’s the good news, folks.
Each year, every NFL team is awarded one pick for each of the seven rounds of the NFL draft. Since one of the picks the Jets surrendered (no. 49) was originally property of the Seattle Seahawks, the Jets, over the next two seasons, are on the books for 12 draft picks in total. That’s exactly two fewer picks than they would have had if no trades had occurred. To imply that going from 14 picks to 12 picks is somehow “giving away all of our picks” is preposterous. Even including the Seattle pick, the Jets retain 12 of 15 picks.
Another point of contention appeared to be the timing of the deal. “Why didn’t Maccagnan wait until draft day”? was being repeated by a few fans with little idea as to what’s going on. The reason why Mike Maccagnan made this deal now has two parts. First, he recognizes his team’s need for a franchise quarterback. Secondly, he wants to keep his job.
Maccagnan is well aware of the fact that the division rival Buffalo Bills (and possibly the Miami Dolphins) were looking to leapfrog the Jets by getting in to the top five. This move is a pre-emptive strike that prevents the Jets from missing out on one of the draft’s top three quarterbacks and compounding that mistake by having to face one of those quarterbacks twice a year. Had Maccagnan waited until draft day, he may have been forced to give up next year’s first rounder and/or found himself out of work.. If Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen landed with the Bills before the Jets were on the clock and impressed in 2018, Maccagnan would be out of the job with nobody to blame but himself.
Make no mistake, however. Should Maccagnan bomb with whichever quarterback he opts for in April, he’ll still be looking for work, but at least he will have gone down swinging, rather than by sitting around and hoping for the best while his rivals would have likely been making bold decisions to keep the Jets in the cellar of the AFC East.