The Buffalo Bills are the new gatekeepers of the AFC East.
Jets’ GM Joe Douglas can take a cue from them. In some ways, he already has.
The Bills’ swapped their 2017 No. 1 pick with Kansas City and also received the Chiefs’ third pick in 2017 and their No. 1 pick in 2018 in return.
For the Chiefs, that produced Patrick Mahomes. For the Bills, it was Josh Allen along with starters Tremaine Edmunds, Tre’Davious White, and Dion Dawkins.
It proved to be a worthwhile deal for both sides considering the Chiefs could be on the verge of winning their second straight Super Bowl, and the Bills will be in the running for one.
The Bills went on to build through the draft, free agency, and a handful of trades that didn’t break the bank to form a team that is built for contention for quite some time. They also previously made the right choice in head coach Sean McDermott, whose stock rise considerably this season.
He is sitting with his No. 1 pick (2nd overall), Seattle’s No. 1 (23rd), two seconds (one from Seattle) and a third among others. Douglas also has 63 million in cap space, the second highest overall.
He wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger and send his one-man wrecking crew safety Jamal Adams to stockpile those picks.
Attractive draft picks and plenty of cap cash would appear to be a no-brainer to fix a 2-14 team from last year and one that has a 13-35 mark over the past three years.
Enter Deshaun Watson. The tempting apple in the Jets’ presumed next Garden of Eden.
Watson already has hinted that he would love to play for the Jets, and his latest trade demand has ramped the hype.
On paper, he would be the Jets’ answer to their long-awaited search for a franchise quarterback since Joe Namath.
Douglas already shown his shrewdness with the Adams deal, and he’ll need his best poker face for this one.
If you can get Watson for the 23rd pick and a No. 1 next year, the deal makes sense. And even that is pushing it a bit.
Unfortunately for the Jets’ fans, this is all about timing.
They finally many have found their long-sought-after coach in Robert Saleh, who has endorsed quarterback Sam Darnold, who also was chosen in the 2018 draft.
With another solid draft – take Oregon tackle Penei Sewell with the No. 2 pick – and some astute spring shopping, Douglas can have the Jets beginning to head out of the abyss.
He’ll have to temper the temptation to chase after the big prize especially if the price is steep.
Like Darnold, Allen’s critics were silenced this season after he pieced together an MVP-like season. He now has all of the pieces around him. The long-range plan worked.
Douglas and Darnold can too, if the Jets stay the course.