Sometimes, it’s fun to think in hypotheticals. In the case of a proposed trade idea by Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, could the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars work a deal involving both pass rusher Dante Fowler, Jr. and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater?
The Jaguars have three quarterbacks on the roster. The team traded for Cody Kessler this offseason to serve as the backup to Blake Bortles. Tanner Lee was drafted in the sixth round this past April. Fowler is in the final year of his rookie deal. The Jaguars declined to pick up his fifth-year option. This is essentially a “prove it season” for the former 2015 first-round draft pick.
While the Jets brought the former Minnesota Vikings first-round pick in this offseason through free agency, the team did draft Sam Darnold out of USC with the third pick in the Draft.
The question becomes would this be a straight up player-for-player deal or would other variables become part of the trade? Cimini believes this is a deal that benefits both teams.
"“The Jacksonville Jaguars have a surplus at defensive end and they probably won’t be able to afford Fowler at the end of the season because they have so much money invested in defense,” Cimini wrote. “Based on that school of thought, yes, he could be available, but it won’t be a fire sale. Fowler, drafted third overall in 2015, is coming off an eight-sack season and he’ll only be 24 years old this season.”"
There is also talk by Cimini that Jets might be interested in Denver Broncos pass rusher, Shane Ray. The Jets made a big splash last season by trading defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to the Seattle Seahawks for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, which filled needs for both teams. The Jaguars have a surplus of pass rushers, which Cimini believes makes Fowler expendable.
Personally, I think in this last year of his contract, Fowler is in line for a huge season. He had eight sacks in the regular season and two sacks in the playoffs. He is part of a rotation that features Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and rookie Taven Bryan.
Bridgewater, who has had injury issues in the past, could be a trade piece as the Jets move further into training camp.
"“Teddy Bridgewater could be trade bait, but I don’t see that happening unless Darnold wins the starting job during the preseason,” Cimini wrote. “There’s also the matter of his surgically repaired knee. He looked fine in OTAs and minicamp, but there’s still skepticism around the league about his knee.”"
The Jaguars hitched their wagon to Bortles this offseason by inking him to a three-year, $54-millon contract extension. Bortles improved last season as a passer and was more of a leader on the field for the 10-6 Jaguars who made the AFC Title game. It’s a trade that makes sense if Bridgewater comes to Jacksonville knowing he won’t see the field unless there is an injury to the incumbent starter.
The Jaguars traded a conditional 2019 seventh-round pick for Kessler, who the investment in the deal is minimal.