The New York Jets are doing everything they can to land a potentially franchise-altering quarterback in next month's draft.
The team announced Saturday it acquired the No. 3 overall pick of the draft in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets are sending their sixth, 37th and 49th overall selections in this year's draft and their second-rounder in 2019 to Indianapolis.
By moving up from No. 6 to No. 3, the Jets greatly improve their chances of drafting the quarterback they want. Although general manager Mike Maccagnan hasn't said who the team is hoping to draft, quarterbacks Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield are among the most likely candidates to land with the Jets. The deal also could play a role in who the Browns select at No. 1 overall -- they could potentially take a QB with the top pick instead of combine standout Saquon Barkley.
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Jets explored all options before pulling off Saturday's trade with the Colts -- Maccagnan even looked at the possibility of trying to pull off a deal with the Browns for No. 1.
In addition, Colts general manager Chris Ballard fielded calls from multiple quarterback-needy teams before feeling comfortable with the Jets' offer, Rapoport added. Since Indy is counting on a healthy Andrew Luck to be back under center, it makes sense the Colts would be willing to trade back with most of the top picks slated to be quarterbacks. Ballard told the Colts' official website Saturday the team would be willing to trade down again in this year's draft under the right circumstances.
The Colts, who've been very quiet in free agency so far, have amassed quite a war chest of picks as they look to address several issues on both sides of the ball:
"We feel like at six we could still acquire a premium player," Ballard said. "Plus, being able to pick up the two twos this year and the two next year that gives us four picks this year in the top 50 picks of the draft and then three picks next year, one in the first and two in the second. So, it gives us a chance to really replenish our young talent and start building a core of young talent that we need to do."
After the Jets lost out in the Kirk Cousins free agency sweepstakes, it was apparent Maccagnan had to switch his focus on the draft in order to fix the team's quarterback woes. With Teddy Bridgewater coming off a horrific knee injury that sidelined him the last two seasons and Josh McCown valued primarily as a QB-room mentor, New York's short path to AFC legitimacy relies heavily on who it picks in the first round of this year's draft.
Maccagnan is doing his homework on this year's class of top signal-callers. He attended Mayfield and Rosen's respective pro days, and he's scheduled to attend Darnold and Allen's pro days next week.
The Jets paid a steep price to move up three spots in this year's draft. Time will tell if the gambit pays off for Gang Green.