The Jets have promised an aggressive approach to rebuilding their roster, and they certainly have plenty of holes still to fill as the trading deadline approaches on Tuesday afternoon. They have the salary cap room to add players. They haven't been afraid to spend draft picks to do it.
So how active will they be in the next few hours?
That will depend on the price and who is actually available. If they can pry an edge rusher like Chandler Jones away from the Arizona Cardinals, for example, it might be worth it. A team source said the Jets are definitely on the lookout for help at key positions, such as edge rusher and receiver, and they have no fear of being "aggressive" for the right guy.
For proof, the source pointed to their "strong" offer for Khalil Mack in September, where they offered their first-round pick and another pick (reportedly a second-rounder) to Oakland before he was traded to the Chicago Bears. Would they make a similar offer to the Cardinals for a premier pass rusher like Jones?
One thing is certain: The Jets are more likely to be buyers than sellers, and they need so much help as they continue their rebuilding project that nothing can be ruled out completely. Jones would be a heck of a prize, though at least one league source believes there's no way the Cardinals will trade him.
Here's a look at where the Jets need the most help and what they might find in the next few hours:
The 28-year-old Jones would be an ideal fit for the Jets who have been unable to generate any kind of consistent pass rush over the next few years. Word around the league is mixed on his availability. Some do think the Cardinals could be convinced to part with him for the right package of players and/or picks. That's a bit odd since Jones is 28 and a premium pass rusher and only two years into a five-year, $82.5 million contract. But the Cardinals are rebuilding too and could use the cap space.
So would the Jets' Mack offer -- a first-rounder and another pick -- do it? And would the Jets do that?
Whatever the price is, it will be high, but the Jets owe it to themselves to at least explore it. Jones' cap number over the next three seasons is $15 million-plus, but that's what it's going to cost them to find a pass rusher in the offseason anyway. Surely they'd have to give up their first-round pick at least -- and that's a pick they might end up using on a pass rusher depending on how high they draft.
Beyond Jones, though, there aren't many edge-rushing options. One who's definitely available is Giants linebacker Olivier Vernon, but he's not in Jones' class (Jones had 17 sacks last season, Vernon has had 16 sacks over the last 2 ½ seasons) and he's battled injuries the last two seasons. He's also just as expensive. The only upside is the cost likely would be less. The Giants could be tempted for a mid-round pick.
This is probably their biggest need since they entered the season without a No. 1 receiver and they've since lost Quincy Enunwa (injured) and Terrelle Pryor (released). This is also the one spot where a rental player might make some sense, because a good receiver can help with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold's development.
Probably the two biggest names on the market, according to NFL sources, are Denver's Demaryius Thomas and Detroit's Golden Tate. Both are 30 years old, but Thomas makes the most sense because he's signed through 2019 and Tate is not. Thomas does bring a $14 million salary and cap number with him next season, but the Jets have plenty of cap room for that.
DeSean Jackson is apparently available too, but he's about to turn 32, will cost $10 million next season, and is probably a little too high-maintenance for a rookie quarterback. Washington's Pierre Garcon, also available, is also 32.
With Bilal Powell out for the season and done with the Jets, they are suddenly very short-handed here until Elijah McGuire comes back and proves he's healthy. And there's obviously a big prize on the market in Pittsburgh's LeVeon Bell.
It still makes no sense for the Jets to get Bell, though, since if they want him they'll have their shot at him in March when he (very likely) will be a free agent. To get him now, while he's holding out and refusing to sign his franchise tender, they'd have to give up a high draft pick (they'd be lucky if the Steelers only take a second-rounder) and all they'd get in return is a half season of him and a six-week exclusive negotiating window in the offseason.
That's not worth the pick. Trading for Bell is a win-now move and the Jets are deluding themselves if they believe they're a contender this year.