Jets top trade deadline targets: Offensive line, linebacker and running back

Could the Jets be an NFL best bet in Week 8?
Jets safety Will Parks recovers a blocked punt to return for a 20-yard touchdown during the second half against the Green Bay Packers in Week 5.
AP Photo/Morry Gash

With the NFL trade deadline approaching on Nov. 1, the surging Jets are running out of time to upgrade their roster ahead of a potential (and unexpected) playoff push. 

At 5–2, the Jets are just one game out of first place in the AFC East, and are currently sitting as one of the Wild Card teams to make the playoffs. 

Gang Green just added James Robinson, the former Jacksonville Jaguars running back, after their own star rusher, Breece Hall, tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. 

But they still have some significant needs that they may look to address this week in order to solidify their roster going forward. 

Jets team needs

The Jets biggest need comes on their often-injured offensive line. The team just lost guard/tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker, and have previously lost left tackle Mekhi Becton. That has caused major problems for second-year quarterback Zach Wilson, as the Jets have been sacked 17 times this season. 

No NFL team, meanwhile, can have too many options at linebacker — and the Jets may look to add to their pass rush, which is already fairly good. If they can add another option in that space, they may be able to nudge themselves into the top team of NFL defenses, and have a legitimate shot to keep shutting down opposing offenses.

Their defensive ends have not been as stellar as they would like, with tookie Jermaine Johnson II leading all Gang Green DE’s with 12 tackles. Carl Lawson, meanwhile, has three sacks, which leads all defensive ends. 

Here’s some players the Jets could realistically target prior to this trade deadline:

DE Tarell Basham – Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have played very well this season on the defensive side of the football, but Bashman has not been a significant factor in their game plan, as he missed all-but one game this season with injury. With an expiring contract, he most likely won’t be re-signed, and so Dallas may be looking to get whatever assets they can. 

He previously played for the Jets between 2018 and 2020, so the move wouldn’t be too much for him to bear, and he’d immediately jump in as a solid option in the pass rushing game. 

In seven years in the NFL, he’s recorded 123 tackles (12 for a loss of yardage), hit the opposing quarterback 34 times and sacked passers on 12 plays. He’d be a major boost for the Jets defensive line. 

OG/OT Jackson Carman – Cincinnati Bengals

With Alijah Vera-Tucker out for the year, the Jets are going to be looking for any low-hanging fruit they may be able to snatch up at the guard position. The former second rounder has lost his starting job in Cincinnati, and his position looks lost in the starting lineup. 

If the Jets can snag him away from the Begnals, he would be a major boost to the team that figures to be relying more on their quarterback play now that star running back Breece Hall has gone down for the season with an ACL injury. 

Carman has not played the last three weeks, so the Bengals may be willing to part ways with the 22-year-old Clemson product.   

OT Josh Jones – Arizona Cardinals

Jones has not been present enough for the Cardinals in order for Arizona to consider him un-movable. 

The 6-foot 2-inch, 220-pound lineman has been relegated to the second string of the Cardinals offensive line, which has played fairly well despite him being essentially absent — they’ve given up just 16 sacks, which puts them in the middle of the pack. 

He entered the league in 2020, and the Jets may believe that he simply hasn’t been given a fair shot due to his position behind a crowded lineup of offensive lineman. The Jets should be looking to take a chance on the youngster, and he may be the key to fixing their dilapidated line. 

OG Chris Reed – Minnesota Vikings

For the same reasons that they may look to target Carman and Jones, the Jets would be thrilled to bring on Chris Reed. At 30-years-old, he’s past his prime in the NFL, but he’s still been highly effective as a pass protector, and a guy who can open up the middle for the running game. 

He’s been completely absent this year for the Vikings, which would likely give the Vikings all the incentive in the world to move him for anything in return — meaning the Jets wouldn’t have to give up much. 

And the Jets may be willing to take a flier on him, as he’s been buried behind a solid O-line, rather than simply not being unproductive. 

LB Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers 

The Panthers have gone into fire-sale mode this season after firing head coach Matt Rhule, and trading away their most talented player in running back Christian McCaffery. 

There are 31 other teams in the NFL, and there are 31 other general managers who have been scouring their roster for potential trade targets. 

But for the Jets, the idea of pairing Shaq Thompson with Quincy Williams and C.J. Mosley in the linebacker slot would be a dream come true. 

Through eight years in the NFL, Thompson has averaged 49.3 tackles, 3.6 quarterback hits and 1.4 sacks each season, and would bring another veteran leader into the locker room filled with young talent. If the Jets truly believe they are going to continue their recent run of success, Thompson would be a terrific addition. 

RB Melvin Gordon – Denver Broncos

I know, I know. The Jets just traded for James Robinson at the running back position. 

But, Zach Wilson at quarterback has looked like he still needs time to develop, and the Jets were relying on their running game to boost their offensive production so far this year. And it’s been working! 

If Jets general manager Joe Douglas wants to go above-and-beyond that trade for Robinson in an effort to replace Breece Hall, why not make another move for Gordon. 

The former Charger, now with the Broncos, has been one of the best in the league since his arrival in 2015, but has lost significant snaps to Latavius Murray in Denver. 

Meanwhile, the Broncos are devoid of draft picks since trading for Russell Wilson (they gave up two firsts, two seconds, and a fifth round pick), so they may be looking to recoup any assets they can — and that may allow the Jets to pounce.

For more coverage of the Jets, head to amNY.com.

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