New York Jets fans and NFL observers puzzled over the team’s inability to land a top quarterback in free agency are likely feeling different after general manager Mike Maccagnan made a deal with the Indianapolis Colts to get the No. 3 overall selection in April’s NFL Draft.
To get the No. 3 pick, the Jets traded their No. 6 overall selection, the No. 37 and No. 49 picks, and their second-round pick in 2019 to Indianapolis.
After losing the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, the Jets did re-sign Josh McCown and sign Teddy Bridgewater to presumably take care of their quarterback situation for the 2018 season. But both QBs signed one-year deals — McCown for $10 million, Bridgewater for a reported $5 million with incentives that could boost the value to $15 million — making it clear that both would likely be stopgaps while the team developed a young quarterback to play in 2019.
The only question was whether or not the Jets would be able to draft one of the top quarterbacks. At the No. 6 selection, that wasn’t a sure thing. (Especially with rumblings that the Bills were looking to jump ahead of the Jets with a trade.) At No. 3, it’s a virtual certainty.
It’s possible that all of the draft’s top quarterback prospects will be on the board at No. 3, if the Browns select running back Saquon Barkley with the No. 1 overall pick. Many draft observers and NFL insiders expect the Giants to take a player other than a quarterback, maybe offensive lineman Quenton Nelson or defensive end Bradley Chubb, but can they really pass up the chance to draft Eli Manning’s successor? But if the Browns have their eye on a QB and absolutely want to make sure they get him, they could draft him at No. 1 and hope Barkley is available at their No. 4 selection.
Even if two quarterbacks were selected ahead of the Jets (maybe with a team trading into the two spots in front of them), however, the Jets should be able to get a signal-caller they’re happy with. Presuming four QBs are considered the best of this draft class — in no particular order, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield — the Jets could have their choice of two of those prospects.
Sure, Maccagnan and his staff probably favor one or two of those players over the others. But one of them will likely be available when the Jets pick. (ESPN’s Rich Cimini believes Maccagnan doesn’t consider Mayfield on the same level as the other three.) It’s an excellent position to be in if you’re looking for a franchise quarterback in this draft.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) March 17, 2018
On the other side of this deal, the Colts are presumably counting on Andrew Luck to return this coming season and had no need to draft one at No. 3. GM Chris Ballard needs as much young talent as he can acquire to improve his roster and should get two strong prospects with the two second-rounders they got from the Jets.
Unless they trade down even further, Indianapolis now has three picks in the second round and nine overall selections in the 2018 NFL Draft. If Ballard makes the right picks, he should have four to five players who can at least make solid contributions to his team this season.