The Jets’ nightmarish first half of the season has prompted inquiring minds to wonder whether general manager Mike Maccagnan should sell off assets before the NFL trade deadline next Tuesday. Todd Bowles’ team will miss the playoffs, after all, so why not pick up some draft picks to fortify the future?
I’ve heard some doozies, including dealing Sheldon Richardson due to the surplus along the defensive line. Never mind that Richardson is a more valued and — gasp! — better player than the recently paid, injured and ineffective Mo Wilkerson. Never mind that Richardson is held in higher regard on the field across the league. (And never mind that no team will part with a first-round pick for him right now.)
The biggest knee-slapper, however, is the notion of trading Brandon Marshall, who has been the glue for a team that could have — and perhaps should have — fractured in the wake of these miserable first seven weeks.
It’s easy to paint Marshall as a ticking time bomb ready to self-destruct given his past transgressions. It’s lazy, too.
If you know anything about the dynamics of this team, you know that Marshall has been one of Bowles’ most indispensable players for reasons that go beyond his production on fall Sundays. He’s been a mentor to countless younger players. He’s set the right example. He oozes positivity.
“Brandon’s a big part of what we do on the field and off the field,” Ryan Fitzpatrick told the Daily News.
Critics will forever be blinded by a younger Marshall’s behavior. His actions years ago might have been inexcusable, but people mature and grow. I know. It’s hard to believe.
Marshall has been an invaluable piece to Bowles’ puzzle, keeping the Jets from falling into chaos. It’d be Thunderdome in Florham Park if not for veterans like Marshall.
“His leadership has been good. Period,” Bowles said. “There’s a couple guys that talk behind the scenes that you don’t see in public, that do a lot more than talk football, that kind of keep this team together. Brandon is one of those guys.”
(Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Maccagnan’s “competitive rebuild” is born out of poor drafts from previous regimes. It’s a delicate balance to compete in the here and now, while setting a foundation for the future. The Jets renovate. They don’t do total tear-downs.
“It would be a good time to move any valuable assets and give the front office ammunition to build a roster,” ESPN analyst Damien Woody told the News. “Brandon is still playing at a pretty high level. The Jets could be doing a solid on two fronts. One, if they’re able to recoup a nice pick, that would help their case. Two, if you’re able to put Brandon on a team that could make the postseason, that would also be a good thing. The dude has balled his whole career with a bunch of different teams and quarterbacks…. The Jets are fooling themselves if they think they’re going somewhere this year.”
Woody’s right. The Jets aren’t going anywhere, but what’s the realistic compensation for a 32-year-old receiver currently dealing with knee and foot issues? The Jets gave a fifth-rounder to the Bears for a younger Marshall and a seventh-rounder last year.
Two general managers I spoke to this week laughed off the idea of getting a premium pick (first three rounds) for Marshall. One believed that a fifth-rounder was possible. The other wouldn’t give up anything better than a sixth. Both executives conceded that Marshall, who has 30 receptions for 472 yards and two touchdowns this season, is still a very productive player, but expressed concerns about the veteran’s ability to develop chemistry fast enough with their quarterbacks to make it worthwhile to surrender a quality pick.
“If you can’t at minimum recoup what you gave up, then don’t do it,” Woody said. “You might as well just hold on to him. But you got to at least explore the opportunity.”
There are plenty of teams that could use Marshall, who is eighth in the league with 68 targets. Imagine him on the Eagles. He would do wonders for rookie Carson Wentz, who’s currently throwing footballs to a bunch of slop.
Marshall’s contract is manageable. He’s making $7.5 million this season. He’ll be making the same in the final year of his deal in 2017. So, that’s not a hurdle.
Barring an unforeseen sweetheart offer, it makes little sense to trade a player who continues to make an impact on and off the field.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News