The Jets may have gotten a jump on the trading deadline by shipping Leonard Williams to the Giants on Monday. But it's clear now that was only the beginning.
The Jets were holding what sure looked like a firesale in the hours leading up to the trading deadline at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, with almost everyone on their roster up for grabs, according to multiple sources.
They were having discussions about Le'Veon Bell, Jamal Adams, Robby Anderson, and probably a lot of others.
Many around the NFL were bracing for at least one blockbuster from the Jets in the final hours. Meanwhile, the Giants had less to offer, but according to multiple sources, Giants GM Dave Gettleman has told teams he's willing to listen on high-priced players like cornerback Janoris Jenkins, left tackle Nate Solder and linebacker Alec Ogletree.
Here's the latest buzz surrounding the Jets and Giants with a few hours to go …
- Jamal Adams might be the best young player on the Jets' defense and he is unquestionably one of the team leaders. But that is not deterring GM Joe Douglas from at least considering trading him. According to an NFL source, the Jets have spoken to several teams about Adams - most notably the Dallas Cowboys, who have been open about their desire to add a safety today. Is a trade possible? "What they're asking for is crazy," said an exec of a team that has spoken with the Jets today. "But the Cowboys do crazy things sometimes." It is not clear what the Jets want in return, but the source said the asking price is believed to be "huge". Adams is in the third-year of his rookie contract and he's only due to make $735,000 next season. Plus then his new team could use the fifth-year option on his contract. He's 24, a Pro Bowler, popular with his teammates and fans … Yeah, the offer better be "huge."
- What about Le'Veon Bell? Would the Jets trade him? Two weeks ago a scout told SNY "I think they'd have a line at their door if they made him available," and now that line is apparently forming. Several teams have called GM Joe Douglas, according to a source, to see if he'd be willing to part with his $52.5 million running back. Douglas hasn't hung up the phone on them, the source said, but he'd apparently have to be blown away to make a deal. It's not clear why Douglas is listening, considering Bell is one of the few offensive weapons the Jets have and was the centerpiece of their offseason rebuilding project. It's possible he shares the views Adam Gase expressed in March, that he didn't necessarily want to spend that kind of money on the running back position. Whatever it is, a deal is still unlikely. The Kansas City Chiefs are the strongest suitors, the source said. The Houston Texans have reportedly called too. At the moment, neither are expected to blow the Jets away with an offer, but that could always change.
- There almost certainly will be another move with the Giants for this simple reason: The addition of Williams will cost them $3.5 million in salary cap space (the Jets are picking up $4 million of the $7.5 million remaining on his 2019 salary), and the Giants only have $1.8 million in salary cap space, according to the NFL Players Association. True, they could simply restructure other contracts to clear the room, but it does feel like they made the Williams deal knowing they had another deal coming.
- The Dallas Cowboys almost beat the Giants to Williams. They were one of the teams that called the Jets to see if they could acquire him. The Cowboys weren't willing to go nearly as high as the Giants, though. They ended up getting Michael Bennett from the Patriots for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2021. The Cowboys were looking for a rental. The Giants wanted Williams long-term so they were willing to go much higher. The Raiders, Packers and Eagles also had some interest, though it's unclear if they ever made a serious offer.
- WR Robby Anderson remains the hot name on the market for the Jets, with the Jaguars, Eagles, Packers and Raiders all interested to some degree. The likely price is a third-round pick, but a bidding war could always get the Jets more. "People get crazy when it comes to speed," said one NFL talent evaluator. "That's why receivers always get more in trade than you'd think. Teams always want more game-breakers."
- Jenkins has always seemed like the most likely Giant to be traded given how much corners are in demand, but there's no indication teams are pursuing him. "There are so many corners on the market right now," said one NFL executive. "He's good, but teams can do better." Among the other corners reportedly available: Detroit's Darius Slay, Denver's Chris Harris, and Aqib Talib of the Rams. The Giants seem more willing to deal Jenkins than they were a year ago, but they might not get their price.
- The Giants are definitely listening to offers for left tackle Nate Solder. It's unclear how much they want to deal him. One NFL source said they are "actively" shopping him, while another disputed that. Trading the disappointing Solder would clear $2.9 million in cap space immediately (enough for Williams) but it would leave $13 million in dead money on next year's cap. More importantly, as one team source keeps asking: "Who's going to protect the quarterback?" That's a big problem -- and not a great situation for rookie Daniel Jones. The Giants have no line depth. Presumably they'd move right tackle Mike Remmers to the left side and move Chad Slade to the right side. If they're OK with doing that, though, the Cleveland Browns are shopping for a left tackle and are supposedly interested. But if the Redskins decide they're willing to trade holdout Trent Williams, that'll be the Browns' target instead.
- The Giants would be willing to part with linebacker Alec Ogletree, but there doesn't seem to be any market for him at all. Probably the best the Giants could do is a late-round pick and it doesn't seem like they just want to give him away. They can always cut him in the offseason, or ask him to take a paycut and stick around to help the young defenders out.
- A common myth about the Leonard Williams trade is that if the Giants let him walk as a free agent in March, they'd get a third-round compensatory draft pick in 2021 in return. With all due respect to people who work hard to project those comp picks, that's simply not true. Not really. Comp picks are determined by a complicated formula (that the NFL has never released publicly) that takes into account all free agent signings and losses for each team (or at least most of them), salary, playing time and even postseason honors. So even if the Giants let Williams leave, they wouldn't get a comp pick if they signed more valuable players than they lost this offseason -- a possibility given all the cap room they're expected to have. Also, Williams' next contract and how much he plays next season will matter. So it's not a straight one-for-one deal.