The New York Jets bolstered their offensive line by acquiring two-time Pro Bowl guard Kelechi Osemele in a trade with the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders made their second trade within 24 hours of news breaking that they acquired Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both deals won’t be made official until Wednesday, March 13, when the NFL begins a new calendar year.
The Jets picked up Osemele, a seven-year vet, for next to nothing. They swapped a fifth-round pick to Oakland for Osemele and a sixth-rounder.
“Essentially, the Jets acquired an All-Pro guard by dropping 57 spots in the draft,” said Connor Hughes from the Athletic.
The Jets finished last season with a 4-12 record. They fired head coach Todd Bowles and replaced him with Adam Gase. Gang Green hired a tough, old-school defensive coordinator with Gregg Williams. He’s most-known for his involvement in the Saints Bounty Gate scandal in New Orleans a decade ago.
The Jets love their quarterback. In his rookie season, Sam Darnold played well given the circumstances with 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 13 starts.
After another dismal season, the Jets needed an organizational shake up. For the first time in decades, the Jets hired an offensive-minded head coach. Adam Gase struggled in his first head coaching job with the Miami Dolphins. However, he was Sean McVay before McVay got his shot with the LA Rams. Gase earned a reputation as a valuable quarterback whisperer for Peyton Manning in Denver.
The Jets hired Gase to specifically take Darnold under his wing. The next move was to bolter the big men in the trenches. The Jets were about to lose their starting guard James Carpenter to free agency. The Jets had their eye on Rodger Saffold, but they will have fierce competition for the star lineman.
Instead, the Jets took a flier on Kelechi Osemele. He played four seasons in Baltimore protecting Joey Flacco before signing a deal with the Raiders. He is 29-years old now and will be 30 when the season begins. The Jets feel Osemele still has plenty of gas left in the tank. He had an off year in Oakland, but could you blame him? The entire Raiders squad were dysfunctional last season.
Meanwhile, the Jets have the third-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. They are open to trading down to a team that desperately needs a quarterback, such as the New York Giants.
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Osemele has two more years left on a five-year deal. His cap hit is under $10 million, which gives the Jets plenty of wiggle room to sign other free agents. The Jets are looking at $82 million or so of cap space after acquiring Osemele.
The Jets hope they can lure a high-ticket player and playmaker to the team. Le’Veon Bell is on the mind of every Jets fan in the tri-state area. They would love the former Steelers running back to line up in the backfield behind Darnold.
After the Steelers traded Antonio Brown to the Raiders over the weekend, there have been rumblings about Bell. Could the Raiders pull off a major coup and sign Bell as well? It sounds like another distraction in a long list of Jon Gruden’s problems.
The Raiders are heading to Las Vegas in 2020. However, the Raiders don’t even have a set place to play home games in 2019. They were rumors last week that Raiders GM Mike Mayock shopped QB Derek Carr at the NFL Combine. Apparently, Gruden has fallen in love with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and would to bring him to the Raiders.