That doesn't mean that there might not be. ESPN NY's Rich Cimini spoke with an NFL executive to gauge interest for Hill.
"I think there would be some interest," an AFC personnel executive told Cimini. "There aren't a lot of free-agent wide receivers out there, so it's supply and demand." (ESPN NY, Aug. 26)
Hill has struggled in his time with the Jets. Recently, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said he still has faith that wide receiver Stephen Hill can improve this season (Post, August 21).
“I was pleased with his progress [last year] up until he got nicked and then he got nicked again,” Mornhinweg said. “This year he was even more impressive in the offseason and through training camp, with a few exceptions. There were a couple of days there. So, he’s coming along. And in many cases, this is what happens, at all positions, but especially at the receiver position, that third year they make a pretty good jump. That’s what we’re looking for there.”
Trying to trade Hill in the lead-up to one of the richest and most talented receiver classes in the 2014 NFL Draft seems like a tough sell, so that they were unable to move him doesn't surprise me.
If the Jets were serious about trading Hill last offseason, it puts a whole new spin on GM John Idzik's statement to Hill after he ended the 2013 season in the IR.
At the time, Idzik reportedly told Hill that “we have a plan for you.” (SNY, Dec. 15, 2013)
Was that plan to ship Hill out of town?
It's hard to know whether this is someone from the organization trying to soft-land the eventual cutting of Hill, or whether this is all speculative. Do the Jets coaches think they'd be better off if Hill isn't on the roster?
It boils down to whether Stephen Hill be an asset to this team if he stays, and if so, how much? I think the Jets could extract some value from Hill, but it seems clear this won't turn out the way anyone envisioned it when the Jets drafted him in the second round back in 2012 and now the question becomes one of opportunity cost.
Would the Jets offense be better served with Hill or with Salas/Gates/etc. on the roster in 2014? In 2015? Whether Hill is traded or not, it would seem that the future is drastically bending away from Hill.
If anyone could find a way to make it work with Stephen Hill, we would imagine that it would be Marty Mornhinweg. But between Hill's inability to catch the football and his injury concerns, if the Jets feel like keeping Greg Salas or Clyde Gates offers more to this team in 2014 then getting something small via a trade might make sense for the Jets rather than just releasing him outright.
Greg Salas has done everything he can do make this roster, and while I still am skeptical that the Jets would cut Hill outright just yet, I would not be disappointed to see a player like Salas find a larger role with this team. The concern about Salas is that he might not offer a different flavor at receiver than guys like Decker and Nelson already do. If the Jets want a rip-the-top-off player, then if Hill goes that player might be Clyde Gates.