What does Elijah Moore trade mean for the Jets pursuit of Aaron Rodgers, deal with Packers?

What does Elijah Moore trade mean for the Jets pursuit of Aaron Rodgers, deal with Packers?

Elijah Moore was supposed to be a focal point for the Jets offense. Instead, he’ll have to be that somewhere else — Cleveland to be exact — as the team officially moved on from the disgruntled second round pick on Wednesday. 

The wide receiver out of Ole Miss hauled in 43 receptions for 538 yards and six total touchdowns in 11 games during his rookie year. Many expected, Moore included, that 2022 would be a breakout year. But what came next was a season filled with uncertainty, hurt feelings and a broken trust between Moore and the Jets organization. 

Gang Green was flying high with a 4-2 record out of the gate, fresh off a win at Lambeau Field where the Jets rookies stole the show. Moore got in an afternoon of cardio on the not-so-frozen tundra on a fairly mild October day, being targeted zero times. That was the beginning of the end. 

MORE: Browns acquire WR Elijah Moore from Jets, aid in New York’s quest for Aaron Rodgers

A few days later, Moore had an outburst on Twitter — that was later deleted — as well as at practice in Florham Park, New Jersey. He was later sent home, requesting a trade. Moore, annoyed with his lack of involvement in the offense, took issue with then offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and eventually quarterback Zach Wilson. The receiver claimed he couldn’t speak about the chemistry he had with the signal caller saying, “I don’t know, I couldn’t even tell you. I don’t get the ball.”

Moore’s numbers were down across the board in 2022 despite playing in five more games. He only managed 37 receptions, 446 yards and one touchdown last season. 

In reality, it was always trending this way. The relationship was too far gone and the Jets new love interest — Garrett Wilson — was something that Moore just couldn’t compete with. So Moore is now off to Cleveland with the 74th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, in exchange for the 42nd pick coming back to New York. As with everything Jets-related this offseason, surely Aaron Rodgers must be involved. Right? Let’s discuss. 

What does the Elijah Moore trade potentially mean for the pursuit of Aaron Rodgers?

The Elijah Moore trade can be viewed through two lenses: That it has nothing to do with Aaron Rodgers or it has everything to do with him. The Sporting News explores both ways of thinking.

The trade puts the Jets in a better position to acquire Rodgers

If we are to believe the reports — which is difficult when the report involves Rodgers — then the Packers would like a first round pick for the services of their future Hall of Fame quarterback. The Jets would prefer to not part with the 13th pick in the 2023 draft for a quarterback set to make $60 million this year and with no guarantees he will play beyond this upcoming season. 

However, with the addition of another second round pick, the Jets can opt to send multiple picks to Green Bay while still maintaining that coveted first. 

There is also the chance that Jets general manager Joe Douglas has been trying to send 2024 draft picks to the Packers in an effort to keep his two top 50 selections in the 2023 draft. By acquiring another second rounder, New York now has the flexibility to send off one of those seconds while still making a pick in the first and second round.

Depending on what the real holdup is in negotiations, this Moore trade could end up giving the Jets enough draft capital to finally secure their 2023 starting quarterback. 

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Of course, since this is about Rodgers, there is a chance all of this goes south. After all, nothing is final until the ink dries. In an unlikely yet still possible scenario, the Jets could fall in love with a quarterback in the draft after being potentially burned by Rodgers and the Packers. They would then have the ability to make a draft day trade into the top 10.

With the longest playoff drought in the league only getting longer — 12 seasons and counting — nothing can be ruled out inside the Jets organization. Presumably, Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh’s seats will be starting to heat up entering 2023. If they fail again to play more than the schedule 17 regular season games, the chairs could be pulled out from underneath them entirely. Therefore, the draft cannot be ruled out if they can’t finish reeling in Rodgers. 

At the end of the day, the Jets gained more flexibility this offseason by trading Moore, but whether that aids them in their pursuit of Rodgers remains to be seen. There’s a possibility that the deal with the Browns didn’t move the needle at all. 

Nothing really, the Jets are going to acquire Rodgers anyway

By all accounts, the trade that will send Rodgers to the swamps of New Jersey is going to happen any day now. As Moore settles in with the Browns, the only thing that it means for Rodgers is he will be unable to ignore the now-third year receiver like Wilson would’ve. 

With a new offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, now in the fold, the Jets have begun to load up at receiver. They’ve signed Allen Lazard and now Mecole Hardman, in addition to their pursuit of Odell Beckham Jr., also known as brand name Elijah Moore. 

Add that to Wilson, Garrett that is, who was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2022 and suddenly, there isn’t much room for a receiver, unless your name is Randall Cobb — another name the team is interested in.

MORE: NFL free agency grades 2023: Ranking signings, trades for all 32 teams from best (Bears) to worst (Packers)

Instead the Jets went down the trade route, moving up 32 spots in the draft. They own picks 42 and 43 now in the second round, prime range for a center — which the team desperately needs. One of those picks will most likely be flipped in a trade for Rodgers, allowing the Jets to still satisfy a need with the remaining selection. 

As it stands, it’s highly unlikely both the Jets and Packers are any closer to a deal for Rodgers than they were five hours ago, but the Jets at least put the finishing touches on a much-needed breakup. 

Moore now joins Stephen Hill, Devin Smith and Denzel Mims as former Jets’ second round picks that didn’t work out — a stellar draft record for the organization. 

At least in Cleveland, maybe Moore can reintroduce himself to the ball again.