Jacksonville Jaguars: What is T.J. Yeldon’s trade value?
By Luke Sims
T.J. Yeldon may be the odd man out at running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, prompting discussion on his value as a trade target.
No player ever wants to become trade bait for his team, but it is something that even the best in the NFL can suddenly become. For T.J. Yeldon, one season removed as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ top workhorse running back, the change may have been quick.
While there are no rumors currently swirling about trading Yeldon and the Jaguars still have some value on him as a third running back behind Chris Ivory and Leonard Fournette, the future is simply cloudy at this point.
In Brad Weiss’ massive trade piece for every single NFL team this offseason, he highlights Yeldon as the trade the Jaguars need to make. He targets the Detroit Lions – who feature a similarly-cloudy situation with Ameer Abdullah at running back – as a possible trade partner for the Jaguars to offload Yeldon.
In this hypothetical scenario, the Jaguars get a fourth-round pick in return just two seasons after spending a second-rounder on Yeldon. Writes Weiss:
"At the NFL level, Fournette figures to be a workhiorse type of back, one that can have the same impact on his team as Ezekiel Elliott did as a rookie in Dallas last season. In exchange for Yeldon, the Jags could request a fourth-round pick back from the Detroit Lions, who could certainly use the depth at the running back position. The Jaguars look to be building for the future, and more draft picks is the way to go at this point."
With some of the talent potential on the Lions roster, it is possible that a fourth round pick is all Yeldon is worth to the Lions. But Yeldon’s value goes beyond simply this one trade scenario. In the right situation, Yeldon’s potential could be capitalized on and he may be worth something like a third-round selection.
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Boasting a 3.9 yards per carry average and 6.9 yards per reception with relatively low mileage on his legs, Yeldon still has the ability to turn into a solid professional running back. He is among the top 24 backs in the NFL since joining the league in 2015 even with a down year in 2016. That is starting-level capable. Some team needs that.
Running back needy teams may be willing to take a chance on Yeldon and pay a third round pick for the pleasure. If the Jaguars do end up shopping Yeldon at some point in the near future, that should be the compensatory goal rather than something like a fourth-rounder from a team that doesn’t need him. General manager Dave Caldwell would be wise to keep the option open, even if nothing appears to develop.