The Jaguars Trade Machine


The way the NFL is structured, there isn’t much incentive to make big trades unless there’s an outlying catalyst (see: Jay Cutler being upset about his involvement in trade talks). Unlike other professional sports leagues, draft picks are highly coveted regardless of where they are. In the NBA, teams practically give away late first round picks because the value of the pick is significantly lower than the help an established player can provide.

The NFL is different; rosters are much bigger and ever evolving. Younger players have added value since NFL careers are short and injuries are a huge part of the game. Those late round picks can be the difference between a team on the rise with a lot of depth and a veteran team whose window is closing.

With the onset of the offseason however, it’s always fun to imagine quirky ways your team can shake up the roster. Let’s see which players the Jaguars could potentially give up after the jump.

Eben Britton

Why we should trade him:

Eben has had trouble staying healthy after his rookie year, playing in only 11 games over the past 2 years. He was supposed to be a fixture at right tackle for the foreseeable future, but Guy Whimper was able to hold him off this past season and push him to the guard spot. He could move over to the guard spot permanently, but the Jaguars have younger, healthier options behind him in Will Rackley and Cameron Bradfield.

Why we shouldn’t trade him:

Most fans and analysts thought that Eben had a better rookie year than his fellow draft pick, Eugene Monroe. He was actually pretty solid his rookie year, and although he struggled a bit during his second year, he showed a lot of promise. The argument could be made that his performance was dramatically hampered by his injury problems over the past two years, and a healthy Eben Britton is our best option at right tackle. Guy Whimper played well at times last year, but he seems better suited as a back-up swing linemen.

Verdict: Don’t trade.

Eben is still just 24 years old and supposedly feels great physically. The Jaguars likely wouldn’t get good value for Eben coming off an injury, and he deserves another shot to prove he can be a fixture at right tackle.

Mike Thomas

Why we should trade him:

A lot of Jaguar fans online have brought up the idea of trading Mike Thomas. He definitely regressed in 2011 and was the leader of arguably the worst receiving group in the league. It wasn’t just a statistical decline – he displayed poor route running and seemed to drop more passes than he did in 2010. Thomas looked like he was developing into a long-term option at receiver after 2010, so Gene Smith handed him a 3-year extension that he didn’t live up to through 2011. He was given the chance to return punts again this year, but he couldn’t provide a spark to our anemic special teams.

Why we shouldn’t trade him:

Mike Thomas is a prototypical slot receiver and he was forced to play on the outside way too much last year. He was most effective in 2010 when he wasn’t the first option on passing plays and when he had the chance to gain yardage on short passes with open space. If the Jaguars draft/sign a receiver or two who can line up on the outside and keep Mike at his natural position, he has a better chance of being effective. He also should benefit from an entire offseason to get on the same page as his quarterback, Blaine Gabbert.

Verdict: Don’t Trade.

Thomas fills a need at a position that the Jaguars are very thin at and he’s shown he can be effective. The Jaguars might be able to get decent value (3rd/4th round pick) for him, but his output next year will likely be worth more than the pick.

Maurice Jones-Drew

Why we should trade him:

This option has been presented multiple times by fans and columnists. Jones-Drew is coming off his best season and his trade value is likely at its peak. Even though he’s only 26, he’s coming off of a season where he had 386 total touches after having knee surgery at the end of the 2010 season. The Jaguars still have multiple needs on offense, and a bounty of draft picks would do wonders for the depth and long-term outlook of the franchise.

Here’s my strongest argument for trading Maurice this year, of all years – there’s an elite running back available at the top of the draft. In the ideal scenario, the Jags would get a 1st and 2nd/3rd round pick for Mojo. They would still be in position at #7 to grab Trent Richardson, who some people think the Jaguars might take anyway. The Jaguars could find a younger replacement for Mojo and a couple early round picks to add depth.

Why we shouldn’t trade him:

There are countless reasons to not trade Jones-Drew but it really comes down to one – he’s the face of the franchise right now. He’s not only the team’s biggest contributor on the field, he’s the biggest draw off the field. With an offense that has question marks at a lot of positions, Jones-Drew is the only player you can count on to perform at a pro-bowl level.

Verdict: Don’t trade. Unless someone throws the kitchen sink.

The Jaguars really shouldn’t even entertain the idea of trading Maurice, but if a team loaded with multiple first and second round picks feels like offering the Jaguars more than they can refuse, this would be one of those rare occasions where trading your best player might make sense. The Jaguars could draft his replacement, Richardson, early in the first round and still have multiple picks in the first and second day to add talent.

What do you think? Should the Jags be floating around any of these players for trades? Or are there any players the Jaguars should pursue in a trade?

– Daniel Lago