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WR Elijah Moore says trade came 'out of nowhere,' but 'couldn't be happier' in Cleveland

The optimism surrounding Elijah Moore was once impossible to ignore during his time in New York.

Those days are long gone, but there's good news: Moore has received a fresh start in Cleveland.

The Browns' trade for the former second-round pick of the Jets has granted the receiver a new opportunity to see the field more than he did in his first two seasons and carve out a larger role than the tertiary one he occupied in New York.

Moore's sudden change in scenery fulfills a wish he first vocalized during the 2022 season and, in his opinion, positions him for success.

"No, I did not, man, it was like out of nowhere, but I'm, you know, super excited," Moore said when asked if he expected to be traded. "You know, I feel like being here with Deshaun (Watson) and Coop (Amari Cooper) and just the whole team is like a very good mesh and I couldn't be happier to be here. You know, I feel like it's really going to go well."

There's no explaining Moore's move from New York to Cleveland without first recounting what led him to this point. Moore arrived in New York as the 34th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Mississippi and quickly made headlines with his success on the practice field, standing as a symbol of new hope for the woeful Jets. Injuries hampered Moore's ability to fully take flight, though, and after two seasons, he failed to break 100 receptions in his career. A relative lack of big-time production pushed him down the depth chart, too, leading Moore to request a trade in late October.

New York didn't fulfill this request, instead leaning on eventual Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson and past free-agent signing Corey Davis to move the ball through the air. When the 2022 season ended, the Jets knew they needed to upgrade at quarterback, successfully courting Aaron Rodgers and shifting their focus to winning immediately, leading to the free-agent addition of Mecole Hardman this week.

With Hardman joining a suddenly crowded receiving corps, Moore became available, and Browns general manager Andrew Berry capitalized with a trade that sent the 42nd pick of the 2023 draft to New York in exchange for Moore and the 76th pick.

Moore's chapter in New York is finished. He'll take from it valuable lessons about how to fight through adversity and trust he'll end up in a better place.

It will take some time before we can determine whether Cleveland -- home to a team that includes Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Njoku, but desperately needed a speedster in the slot -- is that place. For Moore, it's still better than the alternative.

"I can't predict the future, but I'm going to put my best foot forward," Moore said. "I feel like I'm here for a reason, so whatever happens, I'm going to be ready for it. People go through things and you got to learn from it. I feel like I'm the type of person that learns from my mistakes. You see what I'm saying? We're all human so I'm just going to try to do what I feel like I could've did better last year in whatever position I'm going to be in now."

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