With the news that the New Jersey
New York Jets beat the Buffalo Bills to trading up to the number three pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bills’ quarterback quest has become a bit more complicated. While the other New Jersey team may be willing to move down from number two, it is quite possible that the New York Giants don’t want to drop all the way to 12. Eli Manning is still capable of winning games but needs a better team around him and Gettleman may want an elite talent like Saquon Barkley or Brandon Chubb. The only way for Buffalo to jump to two overall could be to engineer a three-way trade before the draft, and the Jets may have actually helped the Giants decide to move down.
The Jets traded up to number three in order to take a QB. Josh McCown is McCown, an aging journeyman who can sometimes put together nice games but isn’t going to turn the ship around. Teddy Bridgewater may or may not be the same guy he was two full seasons ago. If you’re the Jets’ general manager you can’t afford to assume that Bridgewater will return to form – which was good but not elite prior to the injury – and pass on what you believe to be a true franchise prospect. The Giants don’t have to worry much about the Jets taking one of the non-QB top talents.
Because GMs are going to operate under the assumption that the Jets are going QB, the Browns no longer have the option of taking Barkley at number one and then their QB of the future at four. Besides, new GM John Dorsey has watched Aaron Rodgers carry the Packers and no doubt has seen Tyrod Taylor not carry the Bills. He also has to guard against the Giants either taking Lesser Manning’s successor or trading the pick to a team that wants a QB….like Buffalo. It is highly improbable that Dorsey has three QBs rated evenly. There may be two that he’d be fine choosing between but three is a real stretch. It is much more likely that Dorsey has locked onto one guy, the guy who has the game tape, personality, and so forth that Dorsey believes fits the Cleveland Browns. As such, the Giants don’t have to worry about the Browns taking a non-QB at number 1.
With quarterbacks a very real possibility at one and three, if New York trades back a few picks into the four to six range, they are still guaranteed to get one of the non-quarterbacks they might covet at the top of the draft.
The problem with a triangle trade between Buffalo-Cleveland-Giants is that the Browns don’t need the draft picks that Buffalo would use to fuel the trade. They have the first and fourth pick in round 1 and the first and third pick in round 2. While the Giants would certainly go for a deal that drops them to four with a trio of QB-needy teams in front of them (thereby giving them Barkley/Chubb + picks instead of Barkley/Chubb), it’s harder to see why Cleveland would go for it. Were it to happen:
- BUF gets 2 from NJG and 64 from CLE
- CLE gets 12, 22, 96 from BUF
- NJG gets 4 from CLE, 53, 56 and 121 from BUF
- Buffalo is left with picks 2, 64, 65, 166, 187
The problem with a triangle trade between Buffalo-Denver-Giants is that the Broncos are also almost certain to target a QB in the draft. Elway knows that Keenum isn’t Elway 2.0 and Elway 1.0 wants Elway 2.0 on the field. Were it to happen:
- BUF gets 2 from NJG and 71, 106 from DEN
- DEN gets 12, 22, 121 from BUF
- NJG gets 5 from DEN, and 53, 56 and 96 from BUF
- Buffalo is left with picks 2, 65, 71, 106, 166, 187
Indianapolis is probably still Buffalo’s best hope of getting a deal with the Giants. With Cleveland (1), Buffalo (2), New Jersey (3), and Denver (5) all looking to get QBs the only slot Gettleman has to worry about is Cleveland (4). He is guaranteed to get Barkley or Chubb while adding a first round pick and a third round pick. Plus, because the Giants are now dropping from 2 to 6 instead of 2 to 4, their compensation likewise increases.
- BUF gets 2 from NJG, 140 from IND
- IND gets 12, 56, 121 from BUF
- NJG gets 6 from IND, 22 and 65 BUF
- Buffalo is left with 2, 53, 96, 140, 166, 187
Any way you slice it, moving up to get a QB will be an expensive proposition. Finding a way to get to number two guarantees Buffalo will get no worse than their second choice of QB. Doing so with Indy allows Buffalo to do the deal without giving up quite so much value. The Bills would only have 6 picks but they would be better placed in the second, third, and fourth rounds than otherwise. The Jets moving up to three may help convince the Giants that it is safe to drop back to six, letting elite talent slide to them while adding more picks.