The trade deadline featured a flurry of notable activity Tuesday, but what didn't end up coming to fruition is arguably even more intriguing.
The New York Jets worked the phones in the lead-up to Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline in search of a major addition at wide receiver. New York checked on the availability of three notable names: Raiders receiver Davante Adams, Buccaneers pass-catcher Mike Evans and Bengals wideout Tee Higgins, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday on The Insiders.
The Jets were rebuffed on all three, and talks never progressed beyond an exploratory stage, per Rapoport.
It's not uncommon for teams to check with other clubs regarding game-changing talents in the hours before the trade deadline, but it is interesting to hear the Jets were frantically attempting to swing a major deal for a big-time talent to line up opposite Garrett Wilson. The Jets have scratched and clawed their way to a 4-3 record despite losing Aaron Rodgers, and apparently, they believe they have a good enough team to warrant making a splash by adding another weapon.
The players they targeted all made sense. Adams is having a rough go in Las Vegas this season (which at least partially led to the late-night firings of coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler, among others) with no path to prosperity in sight, while Evans is playing out the last year of his deal with a Buccaneers team that is struggling to move the ball unless they feed him with an excessive amount of targets. Higgins, meanwhile, is also in a contract year with a team that likely won't have enough cap space to keep him after 2023.
The Jets didn't land any of the three and will proceed with a receiving group headlined by Wilson and Allen Lazard. On paper, it's easier to see why they felt the urge to explore another option: Randall Cobb isn't getting any younger, and Xavier Gipson lacks experience. But this is also a Jets team that felt comfortable enough to part ways with Mecole Hardman recently, underscoring the need as one that is less than desperate but would welcome an upgrade.
Instead, Zach Wilson will continue his journey as replacement starter with the same group he's played with since Week 1, while Raiders fans will wonder whether Las Vegas' refusal to move Adams (amid a deteriorating 2023 season) played a part in their Wednesday morning house-cleaning.