Per AzScorpion’s request to present other trade scenarios---this is for you and everyone who enjoys mock trades.
David Johnson wants Le’Veon Bell and himself to redefine the RB salaries in the NFL and if you are comfortable with lavishing Johnson with a deal that would pay him $11-12M a year, then this trade proposal is not for you.
I would be very content to hold on to David Johnson at his current salary to see how he plays this year (in light of concerns about his durability) and then determine his most accurate market value. With the franchise tag available ($12M for RBs next year), I feel like the Cardinals and David Johnson have a safety net
In my trade scenario with the Cleveland Browns, I picked the Browns because of the Browns’ new RB coach Freddie Kitchens and the pitch Kitchens would make to the Browns to make a deal for Johnson.
The next former Cardinals coach I thought of was Stump Mitchell, whom David Johnson gives a great deal of credit for his historic 2016 season. Thus, if the Jets and HC Todd Bowles came calling, here is the trade scenario that might make a modicum of sense.
The Jets offer the Cardinals the choice of RB Bilal Powell or RB Elijah McGuire, plus S Terrance Brooks, TE Clive Walford and the Jets’ 2019 3rd round pick for Cardinals’ RB David Johnson.
While Bilal Powell had a good season last year with over 700 yards rushing (4.2 avg.) and is an outstanding pass receiver (128/946 yds/4 TDs the past 3 seasons), he is 29 years old and turns 30 in October. His cap figures this year is $4M and he becomes an UFA in 2019.
Thus, my attention and excitement go toward RB Elijah McGuire whom I liked a great deal coming out of Louisiana-Lafayette in 2017. As a rookie last year he rushed for 357 yards (3.6 ypc), 1 TD and caught 17 passes for 177 yards (10.4 ave.) and 1 TD. Just recently, Stump Mitchell said of McGuire: “Eli looks fantastic, to be honest. I’ll tell you who I see Eli as---and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Eli has the skill set to be a LaDainian Tomlinson if he was given that opportunity.” I do not take such lofty praise from Stump Mitchell lightly.
I have always liked S Terrence Brooks of Florida St. He was AFC Defensive Player of the week early last season for his two interception performance versus the Dolphins. He recently signed a two year $4M contract, which is a bargain. Brooks is still only 26 years old and he’s versatile. He can play in the box or in the deep middle. The Jets boast two young studs at safety in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.
Clive Walford is 26 and coming off three seasons with the Raiders in which he caught 70 passes for 768 yards (11.0 ave.) and 6 TDs. The Jets claimed him off waivers from the Raiders in early April. His 2018 salary is $823K. Walford lost his starting job to Jared Cook last year, but the 2015 3rd round pick has intriguing talent.
Adding a 2019 2nd round pick would give Steve Keim some attractive flexibility in the 2019 draft as he had with multiple Day 2 picks this past year, which enabled him to trade up for QB Josh Rosen.
The keys to this deal are the exciting potential of RB Elijah McGuire (under contract for the next 3 years), two solid depth additions at areas of need (S and TE) and the acquisition of an extra 3rd round pick in the 2019 draft.
That’s not all.
What would you say if Todd Bowles wants to add to the deal by offering his 2016 1st round pick LB Darron Lee (6-1, 232, Ohio St.) for the Cardinals 2014 1st round pick ’ $LB Deone Bucannon.
Bucannon thrived at the $LB spot in Bowles’ defense, and in two years Lee has flashed skill but has raised questions as to whether he is consistently cut out to play inside in the 34. However, playing at his ideal position of WILL LB in Steve Wilks’ 43 could turn Lee into a bona fide star.
The jets currently have $20,291,024 in available cap space. So, adding Bucannon’s $8.7M 2018 salary wouldn’t be an issue, although one would imagine that the deal would be contingent on signing Bucannon to a long-term deal.
Darron Lee turned heads at the 2016 NFL Combine with his 4.4 speed, 17 reps at 225 and 35.5” vertical jump. His 2018 salary is $1.38M. $1.84M in 2019. And the Cardinals would have a 5th year option in 2020.
Apparently ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio has just arrived at the Jets’ headquarters today and is on hand for any and all updates.
In the meantime, would you make these trades? You make the call.