Jets can parlay Teddy Bridgewater deal into something much bigger


The Teddy Bridgewater trade does two things for the New York Jets:

It removes any doubt about their starting quarterback job — it belongs to rookie Sam Darnold. But we pretty much knew that already.

It also turns found money into a potential treasure.

The Jets took a $1 million flyer on Bridgewater (the bonus money they’ve paid him) with the idea they could flip him for a draft pick. They did that Wednesday, receiving a third-round choice from the New Orleans Saints, who got a sixth-rounder from the Jets.

With two 2019 third-round picks, not to mention a first-rounder, general manager Mike Maccagnan has the ammunition to make another trade.

A bigger trade. Did someone say Khalil Mack?

Yes, they’re interested. They’ve been snooping around the Mack/Oakland Raiders contract stalemate, quietly monitoring the situation. The Raiders might not be actively shopping their disgruntled pass-rusher, but they’d have to listen to an offer of first- and third-round picks, wouldn’t they?

A dynamic edge pass-rusher is the missing piece on a Jets defense that has a chance to be pretty good. If not Mack, Maccagnan has extra draft capital to wheel and deal as the final roster cutdown approaches.

The Jets did well for themselves with the Bridgewater trade. Anything less than a third-round pick would have been a giveaway. After all, he’s arguably the best quarterback on the roster, a starting-caliber player who has rebounded from a devastating knee injury.

You hate to see the Jets deal a good quarterback, but this season is all about Darnold. This move shows they’re willing to sacrifice a little in the short term in favor of Darnold’s long-term development. It also clears his $5 million salary from their books. Make no mistake, money always is a factor.

The only question is, why make the trade now? The Jets could have scored a better trade if they kept Bridgewater, waiting for the inevitable quarterback injury to occur. A little patience could have resulted in a second-round pick.

So why now? It’s the bird-in-the-hand theory. It also gives Maccagnan a little more ammo as he works the phones for a potentially bigger trade.

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