The Jets are not messing around. They want to find their franchise quarterback in April.
Gang Green on Saturday traded with the Colts to move up to No. 3 overall in the first round of next month’s draft, the team announced on Twitter. It was a costly deal. In return, the Jets gave Indianapolis their No. 6 overall pick, both of their 2018 second round picks — 37th overall and 49th overall — as well as a 2019 second-round pick.
The No. 37 overall pick is the Jets’ original second-round pick. They acquired the additional second-round selection from the Seahawks in the Sheldon Richardson trade, which also brought wide receiver Jermaine Kearse to New York.
This draft-pick trade puts the Jets in a position to secure one of the top three quarterback prospects available — USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen or Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Previously, at No. 6, the Jets were behind as many as three quarterback-needy teams. And if general manager Mike Maccagnan stayed at that position, he could have been forced to settle for Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield instead.
The move to No. 3 now all but confirms the Jets will be taking a quarterback in the 2018 draft. A team rarely if ever surrenders that much draft capital for a different position.
The Browns pick at No. 1 and the Giants are next at No. 2. Both teams are expected to draft a quarterback. But it’s worth noting that Cleveland and Big Blue also both have starting signal-callers for next season. The Browns traded for former Bills starter Tyrod Taylor a week ago, and head coach Hue Jackson stated on Thursday that Taylor will be his starting quarterback in 2018. The Giants, meanwhile, will be starting Eli Manning, and they also drafted Davis Webb in the third round last year. The Browns pick again at No. 4 in this year’s draft.
The Jets pivoted to Plan B for their quarterbacks after missing out on Kirk Cousins, the top free agent signal-caller on the market who signed with the Vikings on a three-year, fully-guaranteed deal. The Daily News reported earlier this week that Gang Green actually never really had a chance at Cousins, and the cat-and-mouse game hampered the front office early on in this free agency period, which kicked off Wednesday at 4 p.m.
That Plan B included re-signing Josh McCown to a one-year, $ 10 million deal and taking a chance on 25-year-old Teddy Bridgewater, who also signed a one-year deal. Bridgewater started 28 games for the Vikings in 2014 and 2015 before suffering a devastating knee injury in preseason in 2016. Bridgewater tore his ACL and dislocated his knee, which forced him to miss close to two years before he hit free agency this offseason. The Jets signed him to a one-year deal.
Now it appears as though either Rosen, Darnold or Allen will be the final addition to the Jets’ quarterback room for 2018.
The pressure is on Maccagnan — who whiffed on Christian Hackenberg in the second round two years ago — to make this pick the correct one.