Some more help in the trenches could be coming for veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Ian from Jets Central proposed a “last minute” trade on Bleacher Report that could make sense for both sides.
New York Jets receive: offensive lineman James Hurst
New Orleans Saints receive: a 2024 fourth round draft choice
Ian explained the rationale for giving up a fourth-round pick, “we have an extra one in 2024 from the Jacob Martin trade with the Denver Broncos.”
A Not so Flashy Jets Trade That Would Be Wildly Effective
I wouldn’t be surprised if you said to yourself, who?
Hurst certainly isn’t considered among the best offensive linemen in football. This deal wouldn’t be flashed across the ESPN ticker on SportsCenter. However, it would fortify depth at the position that still holds the biggest question marks heading into the 2023 season.
Hurst is 31 years of age and originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent back in 2014. He has been in the NFL for nine seasons and the upcoming 2023 campaign will be No. 10.
During that span of time, he has played with both the Baltimore Ravens and most recently with the New Orleans Saints since 2020.
Hurst has appeared in over 135 games and has made 80 starts. Over the last two seasons he has started in over 31 games.
One of the most attractive qualities according to Ian from Jets Central when he proposed this was Hurst’s versatility. He said he can play at both guard spots and even has had some reps at the offensive tackle position.
According to Over The Cap, Hurst is under contract for the next two seasons through the 2024 campaign. He has a base salary of $3.5 million in 2023 and $3 million in 2024.
Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst
Jets general manager Joe Douglas has to hope for the best heading into 2023.
The offensive line he put together is healthy *knocks on wood* and has come together at the perfect time going into this season.
The starters have the potential to be an average to an above average unit. Duane Brown played with one arm after tearing his rotator cuff and was still serviceable. You’d have to think with two arms he will be even better.
Laken Tomlinson was so inexpiably bad last year after coming over from San Francisco that he has to be better. It was the same position and the same system he previously played in. He is due for positive progression from last year.
Connor McGovern has always been incredibly reliable but his ceiling hasn’t been top-10 level. If all of the other players play well around him, McGovern is a perfect guy to have.
Alijah Vera-Tucker speaks for himself as one of the best young offensive linemen in football. He can play every position on the offensive line, but his highest ceiling is at right guard.
Mekhi Becton has the widest range of outcomes, but he has been on the right track and has earned the starting right tackle job.
If all of these guys can stay healthy then the Jets will be perfectly fine in 2023. Douglas can hope for the best, but his job is to prepare for the worst possible case scenario. That is why a Hurst addition would provide some necessary insurance just in case a future injury occurs.
It is better to prepare yourself for that potential scenario now versus overreacting and perhaps overspending when a surprising injury hits later and you have to fix it in the moment.
Paul A. Esden Jr. covers the New York Jets for Heavy.com. A New York native, he is also the official PA voice of the Syracuse Strong Football Club and co-hosts Cumulus Media’s morning show, “The Manchild Show with Boy Green.” Before joining Heavy in 2021, Esden Jr. covered both national and New York sports for FanSided, Elite Sports NY and The Score 1260. More about Paul A. Esden Jr.