The luck of the Irish was blessed upon the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. The Jets and Colts agreed to a deal that gave the Jets the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. In exchange, the Colts received the sixth pick, two 2018 second round picks (#37, #49 via the Seahawks) and a 2019 second round pick. This move ensures the Jets one of the top three quarterbacks in the draft, while the Colts remain in the top 10 while adding three second round picks.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 17, 2018
To recap the breaking news check out Anthony’s report. However, I’m going to break down the winners and losers from this trade. Be prepared as some of these winners or losers may come as a surprise.
Where to start? Well they gained three second round picks to move down just three spots in the first round. Of those three picks, two of them are in the 2018 draft and both are in the top 50. This trade now gives the Colts four picks in the top 50 (#6, #36, #37, #49). Even with trading down to the sixth pick, the Colts are still in a great position. There are two realistic draft scenarios for the Colts. Scenario one: quarterbacks go picks one, two and three. The Browns and Broncos take two of Saquon Barkley, Quenton Nelson and Bradley Chubb, leaving the Colts with the remaining option of the three. All three players fit a need for them. This scenario also works if the Giants take Barkley with the second pick and the Broncos take a quarterback with the fifth pick.
Scenario two: quarterbacks go picks one and three while Barkley goes second, Chubb goes fourth and Nelson goes fifth. Now the Colts have to decide between the next tier of players, or do they? At this point teams like the Dolphins, Bills, Cardinals, and Ravens will be on the phones looking to trade up for a quarterback. The Colts can get another bounty from a quarterback-needy team for the sixth pick while still remaining in the top half of the first round. No matter how the draft shakes out, the Colts are winners at pick six.
New York Giants
I know all the media talking heads are saying the Giants think Eli Manning has a few more good years left in him and that adding Barkley would help prolong Manning’s career. Stop it! If you don’t have a quarterback in this league, you CAN’T win. Yes, Nick Foles just lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory, but the Eagles have one of the best — if not the best — overall roster in the league. Furthermore, if Foles had to start all 16 games does anyone really think they would have made it to the Super Bowl? Foles had a nice playoff run, but he isn’t a franchise quarterback. However; back to the Giants, assuming they don’t want to take a quarterback with the second pick they are in a prime trade spot.
With the Jets trading up it locks in quarterbacks being selected with the first and third picks. That means any team that wants to ensure they get a top three quarterback has to trade to second pick. The Bills have been linked to trading into the top five for Josh Rosen for the past several weeks. If Sam Darnold goes first to Cleveland, like many people believe, the Bills will be on the phone with the Giants to trade up. If I’m the Giants, I’m holding the Bills hostage in hopes of getting both their first round picks (#12, #22), both second round picks (#52, #56) and their top third round pick (#65). For Giants fans who would be mad about missing out on Barkley, they would be trading back and have seven picks in the top 66 overall selections.
It hasn’t been a secret that the Bills are trying to trade their way into the top five to select Rosen. However, before they had three potential trade partners in the Giants, Colts, and Browns. Now they have to get a deal done with the Giants for the second pick if they want to ensure they get Rosen. Furthermore, if the Jets had to give up three second round picks just to move up three spots, how much draft currency will it take for the Bills to move up from pick 12 to pick two?
Now, the Bills have plenty of draft currency to get a deal done, as they own six picks in the top 100 selections. However, they now have to fight off competition from teams like the Broncos, Dolphins, and Cardinals. Because of all their draft currency, the Bills are the most likely team to trade up to the second pick, but that is assuming the Giants are willing to trade down. The Bills might find themselves stuck in a situation where the Giants have been keeping their cards close to the chest and really like Rosen. With three quarterbacks going off the board with the first three picks, the Bills may have made all these trades only to not walk away with any of the top three quarterbacks.
The Broncos aren’t as big of losers as the Bills are because they just signed Case Keenum to be their quarterback next season and still have a top five pick. However, Keenum’s deal is only for two years and only half guaranteed for the 2019 season, meaning the Broncos don’t view him as the long-term answer but rather a “bridge gap” quarterback. The Broncos were hoping for either Rosen or Josh Allen to slide to them at pick five, but now there is almost no chance of that happening. Instead, they can probably still get Baker Mayfield, but if they want one of those top guys they need to trade up with the Giants.
On the plus side for the Broncos, this trade makes the overwhelming odds that a quarterback is taken with pick one, two and three. If the Broncos weren’t planning on selecting a quarterback in the first round, this means that they will either definitely get one of Barkley, Nelson, or Chubb with the fifth pick. They could also be in a prime trading spot for another quarterback-needy team hoping to select Mayfield. In this scenario quarterbacks go pick one, two and three with Barkley or Chubb going fourth. This would allow the Broncos to trade down with a team like the Dolphins or Cardinals for Mayfield.
To be determined
New York Jets
Normally we don’t see a trade involving only draft picks made until draft night when teams have seen how the board is shaking out and what players are still available. Reportedly, the Jets tried to trade for first overall pick and the second overall pick but both the Browns and Giants turned them down. By trading this early with the Colts, it tells me the Jets have very similar grades on three quarterbacks, because otherwise this is a very risky move to make five and half weeks before the draft happens. A move that could blow up badly in the Jets’ face.
Since the 2013 draft, the Jets wasted a second round pick on Geno Smith, a fourth round pick on Bryce Petty, and a second round pick on Christian Hackenberg. None of those guys were the long-term answer for the franchise at quarterback. Now hopefully for Jets fans, whoever they select with the third pick is finally a franchise quarterback. However if not, they just gave up three second round picks, all likely to be in the top 50 overall selections, to move up just three spots to draft another quarterback who turns out to be a bust. For the Jets it’s been a long time since they had a good quarterback under center, hopeful this time they get it right. But will they? Only time will tell if they are winners or losers from this trade.