There aren’t many teams willing to ship off talented young players before the third year of their rookie contract. The Jets showed that they were now one of those teams Wednesday afternoon.
New York shipped 2021 second-round pick Elijah Moore to Cleveland in exchange for a second-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. A trade like this for a player that is only 22 years old is a very clear message to the fanbase and the rest of the roster.
Patience is gone – only a contending team will be accepted within the halls of 1 Jets Drive now.
That’s what happens when a team like the Jets is on the cusp of trading for four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, and potentially adding Odell Beckham Jr. to the roster. Both players are athletes that have high expectations of championship-level play. While Moore is certainly a high-upside player, waiting for him to get to that point is no longer in the Jets’ best interest.
It’s not a bad thing that New York has come to that conclusion either. Gang Green hasn’t been to the playoffs for 12 seasons and three separate rebuilds have come with little hope in sight from any of the plans. Instead, the Jets have swung for the fences, and are now as close to being a contending team as they have ever been.
Moore also didn’t help himself either over the last season. True, his targets and overall production took a major dive in 2022, but a big reason is due to the lack of consistent quarterback play that plagued the Jets throughout their 7-10 season. But requesting a trade in the middle of a three-game winning streak isn’t a good look for any player, let alone one not even two full seasons into his NFL career.
The trade request made Moore expendable and the Jets ended up getting pretty good value for a player that had to be excused from practice at times last season.
There won’t be room to deal with younger players trying to mature in a changing NFL landscape. Growing pains on the field won’t be accepted either – so is the life of a championship-contending football team.
While playing with a young quarterback, growing with that player is an important part of a contending team. The Philadelphia Eagles did that with Jalen Hurts, Cincinnati did that with Joe Burrow, and even Patrick Mahomes has had that in Kansas City. That model has worked for many teams over the last 30 years in pro football.
But that isn’t where the Jets are now.
When Aaron Rodgers inevitably becomes a member of Gang Green, the team needs to match the championship-level play of their quarterback. That’s why they brought him in the first place. Receivers, therefore, have to be on the same page at all times and willing to take the criticism that comes with playing alongside veterans.
Moore showed last season that it could inevitably be a problem for him. And the Jets are no longer willing to be patient with any young player learning the game as they go.
The championship window has opened for the New York Jets. The roster now is being built with that in mind. Moore was simply no longer part of that equation. He may not be the only one moved as well.