The New York Jets reportedly swapped their own 2021 second-round receiver for an older and more expensive player with a similar skill set Wednesday. Neither of their production jumps off the page as a clear differentiator, but New York’s reported trade of Elijah Moore, which came approximately one hour after reportedly agreeing to terms with Mecole Hardman, makes plenty of sense in the scheme of things.
Simply put: The Jets now are one step closer to acquiring Aaron Rodgers in a trade with the Green Bay Packers.
In dealing Moore and a third-round pick to the Cleveland Browns, the Jets acquired Cleveland’s second-rounder. New York now has back-to-back second-round picks in April’s NFL draft at Nos. 42 and 43.
According to the NFL draft trade value chart from WalterFootball.com, those two picks — No. 42 (480 points) and No. 43 (470 points) — have the same value as the 17th overall pick (950 points).
Gang Green acquiring the draft pick was worth spending more on Hardman, who reportedly can earn up to $6.5 million on a one-year deal, to replace Moore. Of note, Moore has two years left on his rookie contract with base salaries of $1.4 million and $1.9 million over the next two years, clearly the cheaper short-term option. But the Jets looked past that.
Rodgers already has confirmed his intention is to play the 2023 campaign and do so with the Jets. It’s now up to the Jets and Packers to agree to terms and push the deal across the finish line all while the battle for more leverage is arguable.
Prior to Wednesday’s developments, longtime NFL writer Peter King expressed how the Jets should trade a second-rounder (No. 43) and a conditional pick in 2025 to Green Bay, the condition being if Rodgers plays in New York in 2024. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported how those inside the Packers building discussed how both Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford were traded for multiple first-round picks. However, despite those murmurs there have not been any strong reports indicating what the Packers seek in a trade for Rodgers.
Nevertheless, it now feels like we’re closer to Rodgers landing with the Jets than we were prior to New York’s maneuvering.