In the aftermath of the latest New York Jets debacle, a thorough 35-9 thrashing by the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, team green had an announcement.
They had completed a trade with Pittsburgh, sending linebacker Avery Williamson and a seventh round draft choice in 2022 to the Steelers in exchange for a fifth round pick.
And with that, Williamson moved from the NFL’s only winless team to its only undefeated team. In the business, this is called moving from the outhouse to the penthouse.
The Jets are 0-8, strictly on merit. They have scored the fewest points in the league and allowed the most. Coach Adam Gase is on very thin ice, almost certain to be gone after this season. The major subject of conversation around the team is whether they finish with the worst record and get the No. 1 draft choice as the prize for that achievement.
The Steelers, on the other hand, have lofty ambitions of reaching the Super Bowl with a revitalized Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. When Devin Bush went down for the season with a torn ACL, Pittsburgh needed to find a replacement on run defense. The Jets were only too willing to help and Williamson was the beneficiary of their largesse.
He led the team in tackles in his first season with New York and then sat out last year when he suffered a torn ACL in a collision with a reserve teammate. That happened when he was left on the field after the rest of the regulars had been lifted, a typical Jet blunder. He returned this season and was second on the team with 59 tackles, even though he missed the season opener. In his last game with the Jets – the Kansas City blowout –he led the team with nine tackles. His reward was a ticket out of the trainwreck. He was not complaining about that. Why would he?
Williamson was grinning from ear to ear as he headed to Pittsburgh. He stood in full Jets uniform with an umbrella, hailing a ride to the airport. When he arrived at Pittsburgh, he hugged the statue of Franco Harris, That’s how happy he was to become a Steeler.
The trade continued a pattern the Jets have adopted in this lost season of trading assets for draft choices as they assemble pieces for a reconstruction project. That would be another reconstruction project. They have been through several of those on their treadmill to oblivion.
Avery Williamson is happy to report he is no longer a passenger on that journey.
Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire