How effective has Trader Joe Douglas been?
With his acquisition of former Kansas City Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas has now executed 20 trades since taking over as New York’s head decision-maker.
Jets X-Factor looks back on the first 19 of those.
8/5/19: Building Block
JETS GET: G Alex Lewis
RAVENS GET: 2020 seventh-round pick (traded to Minnesota)
After the negligence of the Maccagnan era, Douglas wasted no time in attempting to strengthen the offensive wall. One of his first transactions brought in Alex Lewis, Baltimore’s fourth-round pick from 2016.
Originally brought in as an experienced depth option, Lewis was granted starting duties after Kelechi Osemele (a too little, too late addition by Maccagnan) saw his New York tenure after five games. He played enough to earn a three-year extension worth over $18 million, but he regressed in 2020 and eventually retired over the summer after sustaining a head injury in training camp.
Baltimore swapped what eventually became the 225th overall pick in the 2020 draft over to the Vikings with a 2021 fifth-rounder. That swap led to the selection of SMU receiver and All-Rookie team punter returner James Proche in 2020’s sixth-round.
Proche has played in all seven games for the Ravens this year and is Baltimore’s fifth-leading receiver with 118 yards and eight receptions. As a rookie, he served as the Ravens’ primary punt returner and averaged 8.6 yards per return.
James Proche 29 Yard Catch "Yes Sir It's A Beautiful Thing" pic.twitter.com/eJM77CkWs9
— Robert Chatel (@RobertChatel51) September 26, 2021
While Proche is far from a major contributor for Baltimore, he is at least still with the team and offers future upside.
Douglas had the right idea, but Baltimore’s draft-day swap gives them the win here.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Ravens win, C- grade
8/29/19: Handled with Hairston
JETS GET: CB Nate Hairston
COLTS GET: Conditional 2020 sixth-round pick (retained)
Nate Hairston played 13 relatively uneventful games in New York, earning 65 tackles, a pair of sacks, and an interception in that span. But considering that the Jets gave up nothing for this de facto rental (Hairston wasn’t active for enough games) and he cost the team less than $1 million, it’s hard to call them losers in this deal.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Jets win by default, C+ grade
— NYJ section 310 (@jetssection310) August 4, 2020
8/31/19: Parry On
JETS GET: Conditional 2021 seventh-round pick (retained)
SEAHAWKS GET: CB Parry Nickerson
Perhaps foreshadowing a certain bigger secondary deal with Seattle, the Jets were on the other end of a failed conditional pick gambit, though Parry Nickerson did not play a game with the Seahawks. He’s currently a special teams defender in Minnesota.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Push, C grade
9/11/19: Patriot Games
JETS GET: WR Demaryius Thomas
PATRIOTS GET: 2021 sixth-round pick (trade back to NY Jets)
Douglas broke the nearly two-decade embargo on dealing with New England, negotiating the first deal between the teams since the infamous Bill Belichick swap (the eventual picks involved yielded Shaun Ellis, Jamie Henderson, and James Reed).
While Demaryius Thomas didn’t accomplish much beyond joining the historic “That NFL Legend Played for the Jets?!?!” team (36 catches for 433 yards and a touchdown over 11 games), he wound up becoming another rental when the Patriots returned the pick a year-and-a-half later (more on that soon).
VERDICT AND GRADE: Jets win by default, C+ grade
Happy trails to an easy Jet to root for – Demaryius Thomas
— NYJ MIKE (@NyjMike) June 28, 2021
10/28/19: New York, New York
JETS GET: 2020 third-round pick (Ashtyn Davis), 2021 fifth-round pick (Michael Carter II)
GIANTS GET: DE Leonard Williams
Sitting at 1-6 in the first year of the dreary Adam Gase era, Douglas embarked on a mini fire sale at the 2019 trade deadline by sending away the disgruntled Leonard Williams. Douglas once again broke tradition, as the deal for Williams was the first instance of trading within East Rutherford.
Williams struggled in his first eight games in blue, mustering a mere half-sack, but that didn’t stop the Giants from granting him the franchise tag. He went to have a career year in 2020, picking up 11.5 sacks and a pair of NFC Defensive Player of the Week awards (notably earning three sacks in a crucial Week 17 win over Dallas to get the latter) as the Giants tried to stage an unlikely playoff push.
It was originally ruled to be enough to get another franchise tag, but Big Blue eventually granted him a big deal: Williams was inked to a three-year, $63 million extension nine days after the second tag.
The Jets’ defensive yields haven’t exactly made up for Williams’ loss – sure, the pass rush has mostly recovered thanks to the efforts of breakouts like Quinnen Williams and John Franklin-Myers, but Davis has dealt with injuries and inconsistency over his two years at safety.
While Carter II has been a bit of a pleasant surprise in the early going, it’s still nothing to erase the fact that the Jets sent over a franchise face and a long-term option over to their MetLife Stadium co-tenants.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Near Giants win, D+ grade
Leonard Williams destroyed they guard wow pic.twitter.com/gh4XGkxLAX
— Vax the Stampede (@CourtneeHendrix) October 24, 2021
4/24/20: Mim-ium Impact
JETS GET: 2020 second-round pick (WR Denzel Mims), 2020 third-round pick (traded to New England)
SEAHAWKS GET: 2020 second-round pick (DE Darrell Taylor)
At first glance, this draft day deal appeared to be shrewd maneuvering and looked like a good deal for Douglas and the Jets. They gained an extra third and used the late second acquired from Seattle to pick up a big-play receiver denied to them in the first through the selection of Mekhi Becton. The Seahawks opted to move up for Taylor, a Tennessee-based pass rusher.
The Jets are, frankly, shooting themselves in the foot on this trade. Denzel Mims has made the most of his opportunities in comfortable settings – training camp injuries ate away at his rookie season and he still managed to earn 357 yards on 23 catches. But now, the new coaching staff has struggled to find a place for him on offense, even as he’s made respectable gains.
Meanwhile, Seattle ran into bad luck on Taylor (injuries cost him the entire 2020 season) but he established himself as a strong pass rusher before a scary neck/head injury removed him from a Sunday night game against Pittsburgh earlier this season.
Taylor returned this week against Jacksonville and has earned 16 tackles, eight quarterback hits, four sacks, and a forced fumble over seven games. Meanwhile, the Jets’ extra third-rounder was, you guessed it, traded away.
There’s still time to make things right with Mims, but it’s hard not to give the Seahawks the edge because Taylor has earned the trust of his staff and has carved out a consistent role for himself.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Trending toward Seattle, C- grade
There's no other way to describe Darrell Taylor's fourth down sack on Sunday… that is a GROWN a** man bull rush right there! pic.twitter.com/mpgE8bGRHX
— Corbin K. Smith (@CorbinSmithNFL) September 15, 2021
4/24/20: Patriots Stains
JETS GET: Two 2020 fourth-round picks (QB James Morgan/OT Cameron Clark), 2021 sixth-round pick (LB Hamsah Nasirildeen)
PATRIOTS GET: 2020 third-round pick (TE Dalton Keene)
The Mims gambit has been rendered all the sourer by the fact the Jets sent away one of the other yields, the third-round choice from Seattle, to a divisional rival.
While Dalton Keene hasn’t done much in a Patriots uniform (three receptions over six games), at least he’s actually appeared in a Patriots uniform (in the regular season, that is).
James Morgan, a bizarre selection no matter how it was sliced, is already gone and Cameron Clark has been stuck on injured reserve. While there’s hope that Hamsah Nasirildeen can become a consistent contributor, it’s not looking like a fruitful deal for either side at this point in time.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Push, C grade
JAMES MORGAN HAIL MARY 🔥
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 28, 2021
4/25/20: Horseshoes Get Lucky
JETS GET: CB Quincy Wilson
COLTS GET: 2020 sixth-round pick (CB/Ret. Isaiah Rodgers)
Much like the original Lewis trade, special teams haunt Douglas: Rodgers has gone on to become a consistent returner for the Colts, ranking third in the NFL with a 28.8 average on kickoff returns in his rookie season.
Meanwhile, Quincy Wilson played three unceremonious games with the Jets and hasn’t appeared in an NFL regular season game since (he currently lingers on the Giants’ injured reserve).
VERDICT AND GRADE: Colts win, D- grade
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 11, 2020
7/25/20: Safety First
JETS GET: CB Bradley McDougald, 2021 first-round pick (traded to Minnesota), 2021 third-round pick (traded to Minnesota), 2022 first-round pick
SEAHAWKS GET: S Jamal Adams, 2022 fourth-round pick
Douglas’ tenure might forever be highlighted by the historic deal that sent Jamal Adams to the Pacific Northwest. At first glance, this looks like a genius move on the Jets’ part, but there are simply too many moving pieces to fully judge things.
Douglas’ spotty draft history (they drafted Morgan, for example, three picks before Gabriel Davis went to the Bills), for example, makes it difficult to put this one in the Jets’ favor. Their first-named yield from the deal, McDougald, lasted seven games in green.
At the same time, however, it’s satisfying for the Jets and their fans to see a regressed Adams stuck in a Seattle situation where he hasn’t moved much further in his quest to make a postseason impact. Adams was finally able to make his NFL playoff debut last season, but he and the Seattle defense were unable to stop an LA Rams quarterback duo of John Wolford and the injured Jared Goff.
With Russell Wilson out, Seattle has struggled to make up ground in the crowded NFC West, one boasting not only the resurgent Rams but the mighty Arizona Cardinals as well. The outspoken defender did receive his desired payday from the Hawks, but he has tallied no sacks this season (after getting 16 in the prior two). Adams has also yet to earn an interception with a bird on his helmet.
Additionally, the Jets appear to be doing some good things with Alijah Vera-Tucker, whom they acquired with the pick obtained from Minnesota. The USC-based interior blocker has flourished so far, even without the assistance of the injured Becton for most of the season.
So while it’s still too early to fully assess the fruits of the Adams deal – January 2023 will probably be the first permissible evaluation – it currently has several factors working in the Jets’ favor: Adams’ regression, Vera-Tucker’s emergence, and the Seahawks’ ongoing struggles, which ironically feature former Jets franchise quarterback Geno Smith.
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VERDICT AND GRADE: Too early, but heavily trending toward Jets, A+ grade
.@nyjets running behind the raw power of @ALIJAHVT and why not. Dreaming of one day getting the “Smash Brothers” side by side. @8kMike will take interstate 75 all day long #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/T0pryIQF6C
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) November 1, 2021
10/19/20: Hooked on a (Championship) Feeling
JETS GET: 2022 sixth-round pick
BUCCANEERS GET: DE Steve McLendon, 2023 seventh-round pick
The Jets’ 2020 fire sale that officially began the countdown on the Adam Gase era began by trading Steve McLendon, a respected leader on the defensive line, over to the future Super Bowl champions.
While the Jets might not get anything out of this trade – the pick could well be on its way to Philadelphia as part of the Joe Flacco deal (it is unreported exactly which sixth-rounder the Jets gave up) – it’s a win for Douglas in the sense that he was willing to do right by his players. When all was lost, he was willing to send a beloved locker room prescience like McLendon into an attractive situation.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Buccaneers/Douglas win, B grade
The Bucs have been getting incredible production from their nose tackles in the absence of Vita Vea. They picked up Steve McLendon in week 10 and he played incredibly against the Packers. Here he blows up the run as the 1 tech, mopping the floor with all pro center Corey Linsley pic.twitter.com/YpCKw2lZ3S
— Alex Rollins (@AlexRollinsNFL) January 25, 2021
10/21/20: A Willis, away
JETS GET: 2022 sixth-round pick
49ERS GET: DE Jordan Willis, 2021 seventh-round pick (traded to Las Vegas)
A trade that’s hard to assess because the Jets’ yield is still unknown, the 49ers liked Willis enough to sign him to another deal, though he missed the first six games of this season for a performance-enhancing drug suspension.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Push, C grade
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) November 6, 2020
11/2/20: Avery Kind Gesture
JETS GET: 2022 fifth-round pick
STEELERS GET: LB Avery Williamson, 2022 seventh-round pick
Like the McLendon deal before it, this was a goodwill move from Douglas, one that sent veteran linebacker Avery Williamson to a team that was undefeated at the time. He managed to snag a relatively early day three pick for Williamson, who was not retained by Pittsburgh. The defender eventually made his way back to Tennesee.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Push, C grade
— That Blitz Guy 🎃 (@ThatBlitzGuy) December 14, 2020
JETS GET: 2021 sixth-round pick (traded to Kansas City), 2022 second-round pick, 2022 fourth-round pick
PANTHERS GET: QB Sam Darnold
Once Douglas had his head coach in Robert Saleh, the only thing left to do was to pair him with the franchise quarterback of his choosing.
Thus, mere weeks before the 2021 draft, the Jets traded Sam Darnold to Carolina – or, as Jets fans might call it, “New York South,” as the Panthers employ several former bearers of green.
One thing was abundantly clear about the Darnold deal: it had to be done. It allowed Douglas to officially leave his mark on the franchise and make it his own. The trade also contained the minor miracle of turning Darnold, he of a career 76.8 pass rating in New York, into a second-round pick and two day-three selections.
In the early going, Darnold became a close friend of those seeking a cheap laugh at the Jets’ expense, guiding the Panthers to three early wins (one of which came against the Jets) and tallying six total touchdowns.
But the Charlotte honeymoon quickly ended for Darnold, who has a passer rating of 62.5 over the past five games.
A return to MetLife Stadium to play the Giants saw Darnold benched in favor of de facto XFL MVP P.J. Walker. Carolina even hinted at its involvement in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes but pulled out as Tuesday’s deadline loomed.
Again, it’s a bit too early to put official labels on the Darnold trade, especially when all pieces have yet to be revealed (the Jets traded the 2021 selection to the Chiefs and used two gleaned picks to take day three defenders Jason Pinnock and Jonathan Marshall). But things are certainly moving toward a win for Douglas, who now must make the most of the new choices come the spring.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Too early, but trending toward Jets, A- grade
PJ Walker is in at QB for the Panthers as Sam Darnold heads to the bench.pic.twitter.com/Tg8eftNZ4Z
— The Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 24, 2021
4/29/21: Minnesota Nice
JETS GET: 2021 first-round pick (G Alijah Vera-Tucker), 2021 fourth-round pick (traded to Las Vegas)
VIKINGS GET: 2021 first-round pick (OL Christian Darrisaw), two 2021 third-round picks (QB Kellen Mond/G Wyatt Davis)
This draft-day trade might’ve helped shore up each team’s offensive line going into the future. Christian Darrisaw missed the early stages of the season due to injury but has appeared to settle himself on the Vikings’ offensive line. Kellen Mond and Wyatt Davis appear to be longer-term projects and have yet to make any noticeable impact.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Early Push, C+ grade
Christian Darrisaw, first-round pick pic.twitter.com/S5rLd0je07
— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) November 1, 2021
5/1/21: Las Vegas Gamble
JETS GET: 2021 fifth-round pick (traded to Kansas City), 2021 sixth-round pick (CB Brandin Echols)
RAIDERS GET: 2021 fourth-round pick (S Tyree Gillespie)
So far, the Jets seem to be the early winners of this one. Tyree Gillespie has been mostly relegated to special teams while Brandin Echols has worked well next to Bryce Hall in the Jets’ primary defense.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Early, but toward Jets, B- grade
Former Wildcat and Jets rookie Brandin Echols with the INT at Lambeau Field.pic.twitter.com/YD39jf15Nt
— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) August 22, 2021
5/1/21: In Their Defense
JETS GET: 2021 fifth-round pick (CB Jason Pinnock), 2021 sixth-round pick (DT Jonathan Marshall)
CHIEFS GET: 2021 fifth-round pick (TE Noah Gray), 2021 sixth-round pick (OL Trey Smith)
Early returns here favor the Chiefs, as Trey Smith has gone on to become a reliable starter on the offensive line and a silver lining in a disappointing season. Jason Pinnock and Jonathan Marshall, on the other hand, are long-term projects for the Jets defense.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Chiefs win early on, C- grade
The Chiefs got Trey Smith in the 6th round….. SIXTH ROUND!!!! pic.twitter.com/zHjOCxy9v8
— Cain (@QCDetails) September 15, 2021
8/29/21: Shaq Attack
JETS GET: LB Shaq Lawson
TEXANS GET: 2022 sixth-round pick
If anything, Shaq Lawson, called upon to be a depth linebacker option in the absence of Jarrad Davis, will have made himself well worth it to Jets fans for the historic first interception of his career, one that set up the team’s upset win over Cincinnati on Sunday. Otherwise, he has been fairly quiet, recording zero sacks and two quarterback hits.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Too early, C grade
— JetsCenter (@nyjetscenter) October 31, 2021
9/1/21: Viking Conquest
JETS GET: 2022 fourth-round pick
VIKINGS GET: TE Chris Herndon, 2022 sixth-round pick
Though Chris Herndon has made the most of his very limited Minnesota opportunities – the first of two receptions through eight weeks went for a touchdown against Carolina – the Jets come out looking good, as they received an early day three pick for a one-year wonder who couldn’t stay on the field.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Jets early, C+ grade
Drew this one up well for Chris Herndon’s first TD in purple. #Skol
— Bally Sports North (@BallySportsNOR) October 17, 2021
10/26/21: Elite Trade?
JETS GET: QB Joe Flacco
EAGLES GET: 2022 fifth-or-sixth-round pick (TBD)
Could the Jets be done in by their own miracle?
Douglas appeared to be making up for lost time by trading for experienced veteran backup Joe Flacco while Zach Wilson missed time with an injury.
Now, Douglas might not only have a brewing quarterback controversy on his hands, but he might’ve sent a free draft pick over to Philadelphia after Mike White broke the NFL’s internet with a 405-yard showing in the aforementioned win over the AFC North leaders.
Flacco might be worth the while if he can provide mentorship to Wilson. But, for now, this appears to be a minor case of the classic trope of the Jets victories turning out to be harmful.
VERDICT AND GRADE: Early Eagles win, thanks to Mike White, D grade
— Woody Johnson (@woodyjohnson4) October 28, 2021
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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