Elijah Moore, NY Jets, Trade, Browns
Elijah Moore, New York Jets, Getty Images

Following Elijah Moore’s trade to the Cleveland Browns, let’s evaluate the move from the New York Jets’ perspective

The New York Jets have been busy at the wide receiver position in preparation for their Aaron Rodgers acquisition.

Within an hour of each other, Gang Green signed Mecole Hardman and then traded Elijah Moore. The former move was lauded by the fan base, while the latter was met with mixed reactions.

Let’s focus on the Moore trade and discuss the various factors at play here. Did Joe Douglas just lose his first trade with the Jets? Or did he make a savvy move that will put him in a much better draft and bargaining position?


Based on pure NFL trade parameters, the return the Jets received for Moore was decent. The move up from pick No. 74 to 42 is the equivalent of the 66th overall pick, which is the second pick of the third round.

Since it was reported earlier that the Browns had an interest in Moore, it’s fair to speculate that Douglas decided he’d prefer to move up to a second-rounder rather than receive another third-rounder in isolation.

In many waves, that calculation makes sense. Although the Packers want a first-round pick in return for Aaron Rodgers, a bunch of NFL executives agreed that a second-rounder is a more realistic ask. However, Douglas wanted to still have a second-rounder, so he netted another one of similar value in trading Moore.

This gives the Jets two second-round picks, which will make it easier to unload one for Rodgers.

Still, in terms of Moore’s own draft slot in 2021, it’s a net loss. He was drafted at No. 34 overall and returned the equivalent of No. 66. That’s a full-round drop for a player who showed a lot of potential in his rookie year and was often projected to be a first-rounder prior to the draft.

Is it really a third-rounder?

The Jimmy Johnson trade chart is still referred to by analysts when looking at any trades involving draft picks. However, for over a decade, analytics gurus have pointed out significant flaws with the chart in terms of actual expected value.

Pro Football Reference has a metric called Approximate Value, which they use to approximate the value of each player. Although not a perfect metric, it is often used in draft comparisons because of it can be easily generalized.

Here is the difference between the Jimmy Johnson trade chart and the value of each draft slot according to the average expected AV.

According to the AV chart, the No. 74 pick is worth 7.2 points of AV, while the No. 42 pick is worth 10.8. The 3.6-point difference is equivalent to the No. 130 overall pick, which is a late fourth-rounder.

By that accounting, Douglas received the same lower value from this trade as he would have by trading Moore straight-up for a fourth-round pick. Moreover, since the Browns’ fourth-rounders are picks 111 and 126, the value of 130 is lower than what Douglas might have gotten straight up.

Still, this does not account for one fact: the chance that the specific second-round pick that a team drafts will be a hit is higher than the probability that the specific fourth-rounder will play well. In that sense, including the third-rounder to jump a round may still make more sense than acquiring the extra fourth-rounder.

It’s just important to keep in mind that the Jimmy Johnson draft chart is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to NFL trades. By AV, this is not as good of a trade for Douglas.

Moving on

Moore was always a prime candidate to be moved this offseason. His midseason beef with Mike LaFleur, complete with cursing out his coach, followed by a trade request left the writing on the wall.

Not only is a trade request inherently a locker-room distraction, but he made it when the Jets were 4-2, having won three games in a row and coming off an upset victory over Rodgers and the Packers. Combining the timing and the actual request, it was a pure me-first move that did not sit well with Douglas, Robert Saleh, and most likely many of Moore’s teammates, as well.

Meanwhile, Moore has involved himself in more controversy this offseason by showing support for Kanye West and Kyrie Irving, whose anti-Semitic tweets caused a furor (and in Irving’s case, a suspension).

Furthermore, Moore’s play on the field has shown hints of that me-first approach, as well. He has a tendency to take plays off dating back to his time at Ole Miss. His lack of hustle caused several interceptions last season, and he ran out of bounds on a lateral drill to end the second Patriots matchup. This is not the kind of lackadaisical play that the Jets want from their players.

This trade is most likely about Moore’s trade request and bizarre antics. In that sense, it’s a win to get back the equivalent of a third-round pick if it was known that the team was trying to trade him.

Potential vs. reality

Moore’s rookie year was undoubtedly exciting. Following a slow start, from Weeks 8-13 of the 2021 season, he averaged 5.7 catches, 76.5 yards, and 0.83 touchdowns per game. Extrapolated over a 17-game season, that is 96 catches for 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns.

However, his production plummeted in 2022. Even when you factor in his one-game benching due to his trade request and then his virtual benching the next two games, his production never lived up to WR3 status, let alone the WR1 that he was supposed to be heading into the season.

Moore’s final stat line was 37 receptions for 446 yards and one touchdown in 16 games. That is WR4-level production. It was going to be hard to get significant value in return for Moore just based on that poor season, let alone any of his off-the-field issues.

Still, there was some excitement surrounding the potential for a big-time bounce-back from Moore with Rodgers throwing him the football. His tape showed a lot of meat left on the bone by poor quarterbacking in 2022, as he found ways to get open but was often either not targeted or missed.

Cleveland was willing to pay for Moore’s potential, but only to a certain point. That’s where the equivalent of the No. 66 pick came in and how the Jets were able to nab the No. 42 pick.

Jets’ WR room

The Jets now have a hole at receiver, unless you assume that the team is going to keep Corey Davis. Technically, a room of Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Davis, Hardman, and Denzel Mims could be considered complete.

However, it’s highly unlikely that the Jets are going to stand pat after having unloaded Moore. They’ve been linked to Odell Beckham Jr. all offseason and continue to be following the trade.

Other names to keep an eye on are DeAndre Hopkins, Courtland Sutton, and Jerry Jeudy, all of whom have been in trade rumors this offseason. It was reported that the Cowboys moved off Jeudy to Brandin Cooks because Denver wants a first-rounder for their WR; if that is the case, it’s more likely to cross one or both of Sutton and Jeudy off the list. Still, there’s always the possibility that a move gets made.

There was also speculation that the Jets could try to trade for Mike Evans with the perception that the Buccaneers are rebuilding following Tom Brady’s retirement. However, there have been no concrete reports that Evans is available or that the Jets would be interested.

As far as Corey Davis is concerned, these moves make it perhaps even more likely that he is included in the Rodgers deal. Green Bay has not replaced Lazard in their lineup, and Davis has a similar profile. It was originally speculated that Moore could be involved in the trade to give the Packers a cheap, high-upside player, but with that off the table, it leaves Davis as an obvious candidate.

The fact that the Jets have not let go of Davis to save $10.5 million in cap space, despite previous reports that it was likely, further indicates that they consider him a possible trade chip.

Team reaction

Multiple Jets players have reacted to the Moore trade on Twitter.

Still, the front office clearly felt otherwise, and it would not be overly surprising to hear that others in the locker room agree.

Overall grade

It is difficult to grade this trade in a vacuum due to the corresponding moves that will likely happen in the coming days. If the team obtains a different WR2/3 and trades for Rodgers while still having a 2023 second-round pick, that has to be considered a win for Douglas.

However, this trade knocks a further blow into Douglas’ draft record. Moore was considered the crown jewel of the 2021 class after the Zach Wilson pick did not work out. Trading him away after his disappointing 2022 season does not allow him to redeem himself, leaving the 2021 first- and second-round return very bare. Coupled with the team’s miserable 2020 draft, Douglas is now essentially 1-for-3.

As good as the 2022 draft appears so far, whiffing on two drafts in a row is a grave knock on a general manager’s record. With his spotty record in free agency thus far, Douglas has not acquitted himself quite as well as Jets fans sometimes paint him. His return for Moore appears to be about as good as could be expected in this situation, but he’s had to dig himself out of some self-made holes after doing a solid job undoing the wrongs of his predecessor.

Obviously, if Moore lives up to his potential in Cleveland, this will be a bitter pill for Jets fans to swallow. Still, if the trade brings Rodgers to the Jets, precedes other savvy moves, and brings a Super Bowl ring, then the sting will disappear.

Though the record is not complete on the trade, my current verdict is a B.

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Rivka Boord has followed the Jets since the age of five. She is known locally for her in-depth knowledge of football. She hopes to empower young women to follow their dreams and join the sports conversation. Boord's background in analytics infuses her articles with unique insights into the state of the Jets' franchise and the NFL as a whole.
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8 months ago

I think some defense of Douglas is in order. First, by trading Moore, a player he drafted in the second round, he shows that he is focused on the welfare of the team not his own record. A lot of GMs would have refused to trade Moore in order to make their drafting record look better in the short term, but Douglas appears to have a definite long term plan for the team and is not allowing concerns about his own image to get in the way of it. He also shows he will stick to his principles regarding player character even to the point of valuing it over talent.

Second, the first two years of Douglas’ regime the Jets were in really poor shape with roster holes everywhere you looked and a very impatient fan base. He ended up making some mistakes by trading down, bypassing some good players to get more players who were dicier and didn’t pan out, but he was in a difficult position and had to gamble. It’s not easy to just sit pat and get two or three good players a year when you need 20.

Third, some of his biggest misses thus far, were very defensible at the time. Meckhi Becton was simply the best LT available when the Jets picked, even though his weight made him a gamble, and Wilson was very highly rated by most analysts, again, probably the best available when the Jets picked. Most of the problems Wilson has encountered I think involve coaching rather than talent, although I know this is debatable. I do fault Douglas for allowing Saleh to sell him on Mike LaFleur, but to his credit, he moved swiftly to rectify the situation. I also sense from his moves, and apparent faith in Wilson, that he realizes a lot of the problems stem from management, not the player, which also is to his credit.

Jim G
Jim G
8 months ago

This situation proves that once a player finds his way into the Jets’ dog house there is no exit. Except out of the building entirely.

I keep vacillating on this trade. At times I think the Jets gave up on a potentially great player way too soon. At other times I think if you are going to trade him, moving up to the second round was about as good as it gets.

We will know once the season starts what residual value we have from the 2020 & 2021 drafts. If Becton can’t go, we have only a WR5 to show for 2020 and AVT plus a broken down QB from 2021. On the plus side, 2022 is looking great so far. Maybe JD has improved the scouting and drafting process by leaps and bounds. And when Aaron Rodgers arrives …

Once again, hope springs eternal.

Jonathan Richter
Jonathan Richter
8 months ago

I hadn’t heard about the Kanye/Kyrie issues with Moore. Makes me even happier he’s gone.

8 months ago

That 2020 draft was possibly the worst draft in our history. Now with some perspective, the 2021 draft is objectively very poor as well. Thank you for pointing these out Rivka. However, to me, JD’s biggest sin is how consistently horrible our OLs have been, year in and year out. Under Douglas, our putrid OLs let up 150+ sacks in 3 years (2019-21), completely destroying any chance of success for two, young, franchise, #2 pick, QBs. That’s actually criminal. Last year, I don’t know how fans keep giving JD a pass on the OL, crying injuries, injuries, injuries. JD went into the season with Becton and Fant as OTs, fresh off injuries, and ZERO veteran backups. That is the definition of mismanagement. His OL nearly got Mike White killed. Literally. JD’s 2022 draft is the only thing saving his bacon, imo.

Last edited 8 months ago by Rich
Peter Buell
Peter Buell
8 months ago

As noted we need to see what’s next but this is y first negative Joe D post.
Forget draft grades. Joe D being in job jeopardy is silly given recent GMs.
Moore was a cheap slot guy who would be able to stay there with the additions of Lazzard and Hardman.
Cleveland was desperate for WR and still needs more. That desperation could have played into Cory Davis being the guy going to Cleveland and clearing $10.5m in cap space.
Now we’re in a position of needing cap space and another receiver.
Looks like we keep Cory or trade/cut Davis and sign OBJ which can’t go past the $10.5m of Davis.
I expect more from Joe D but when evaluating him the trades of Adams a consistently injured S who he got two 1s and a 3rd and an incredible 2nd and 5th for what looked like a release in Sam Darnold.
One other thing we can’t know yet is what would Elijiah’s attitude have been this year.
A sophomore player cursing out his coach and teammate while taking plays off was a horrible look.
If we saw a repeat of that this season, Elijiah Moore wouldn’t have brought back a 7th rounder.
Joe! you still do owe us one.

Peter Buell
Peter Buell
8 months ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

Rivka, take a look at some of the recent GMs we’ve had here. Some didn’t even have player personel experience…sorry trailer with names.
Does it matter which year Joe gotten talent from a team talent perspective.
Last year, primarily because of deft trades Joe was able to get what looks like 3 perriennel pro bowlers in Breece Sauce and Garrett.
JJ and Clemmons we will find out alot more this year…let’s see what Mitchell and Ruckett look like this year..same with Bechton.
Many teams have said Zack would have been thier pick at #2.
Where I blame him is not sitting the starters the last few games of 2020.
How do you go 1-11 then win 2 of the last 4.
Imagine Lawrrence under center and we look alot better.
This team hasn’t been good in hiring GMs so Joe looks like gold

8 months ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

when you compare the roster JD inherited to where we are now it’s clears he’s done a very good job. We are just a half decent QB away from contending. Every single GM makes mistakes in the draft and in FA. Perhaps an analysis on all the other GMs performances might be able to provide context and clarity on the job JD has done.

Mike Palazzo
8 months ago
Reply to  Shaggy07

I agree, It’s hard to compare Apples and oranges without having the oranges.