Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and the good news for New York Jets fans is, he seems eager to embrace them or whichever franchise gives him an opportunity to be their future under center.
Lawrence is in the process of finishing up an epic three-year collegiate career with the Tigers. It’s now soon to be a reality that he will enter the next draft, and it seems like he’s fully prepared to turn his new team into a winner.
Trevor Lawrence: Ready to turn New York Jets around?
In an interview with Dan Patrick, Lawrence exuded the calm confidence any team would want in a franchise quarterback, discussing how he’s all about stacking “W’s” no matter where he lands in the NFL (h/t the New York Post).
“I’m really just ready to take on whatever challenge it is and just have that opportunity. I know some of the stuff I say sounds cliché but just to have the opportunity to go somewhere, help someone rebuild if that’s what it is or whatever and just win. […] I think that’s what I’m best at is winning, regardless of stats, whatever it is. That’s what I love.”
The Jets are 0-13 as of this writing and have failed their last top draft pick at the most important position on the field. Sam Darnold has shown some signs he can be the long-term signal-caller in New York, yet he still turns the ball over too much and fails to elevate the players around him.
It stands to reason Lawrence is the type of franchise-changing player who can do those things Darnold can’t. For starters, Lawrence is bigger, stronger, a better runner and a more accurate passer than Darnold probably is even now, and he’ll have more years of being under a cheap contract with the Jets than Darnold at this juncture.
General manager Joe Douglas will presumably fire head coach Adam Gase once the Jets’ 2020 campaign comes to a merciful end. The only reason Gase still probably has a job is to ensure New York secures the rights to select Lawrence first in the 2021 draft.
Trevor Lawrence: Will New York Jets trade No. 1 pick?
Until Lawrence is officially donning a Gang Green uniform, it’s fascinating to ponder where else he could land, especially due to his open-minded mentality.
Given that the 21-year-old phenom is among the best draft prospects in NFL history, any QB-desperate team could offer a king’s ransom type of trade to Douglas. It’d be crazy not to entertain offers, but perhaps even crazier not to take such a seemingly surefire star as Lawrence to revitalize this Jets team. Nevertheless, let’s look at potential suitors.
Jacksonville Jaguars move up one spot to swipe Trevor Lawrence
You never know — Douglas and the scouting department may fall in love with another quarterback in this class, or opt to build around Darnold with a viable support system. It’ll likely depend on which head coach is hired, too, as part of the appeal of New York’s vacancy is the presumptive opportunity to coach Lawrence.
For argument’s sake, the Jaguars are projected to have the No. 2 pick and will have a new GM who may want to get nuts.
It’s the shortest possible distance to move up for Jacksonville. Douglas could still get a ton of value — even a first-round pick among a trove of assets — for the rights to Lawrence.
There are other quarterbacks in this class worthy of consideration, such as Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Mac Jones and Kyle Trask. Those first three, along with Lawrence, are virtually guaranteed to go in the top 10 picks.
Dallas Cowboys pull off shocking Dak Prescott trade to land Trevor Lawrence
This would essentially be the equivalent of an NBA sign-and-trade, because Prescott is slated to be a free agent this offseason. Such a blockbuster move is possible, though, as Dallas is projected to pick in the top five as of now.
The logistics are admittedly complex. Two options seem viable. First, if the Cowboys and Jets could agree to terms on long-term contract parameters for Prescott, a trade could well happen. Or, if Dallas signed Prescott to a big one-year deal with the understanding New York would extend that contract upon acquiring him, that could work.
America’s Team desperately needs to make a splash. Owner Jerry Jones would love nothing more than to shock the world and find a way to land Lawrence. Because let’s face it: Prescott deserves the money, and to go somewhere he’d be wanted.
The Jets could use assets from this hypothetical trade to build around Prescott, and they’re one of the few teams with enough cap space ($73.5 million) to accommodate his massive payday.
Maybe Douglas and New York will want a proven commodity at quarterback. Dallas’ disastrous 2020 is a testament to how valuable Prescott is.
Trevor Lawrence stays in Carolina: Panthers trade next 5 top picks to New York Jets
Albeit a move from South to North Carolina, but in any event, Lawrence wouldn’t have to go far if the Panthers were to swing a deal with New York. Carolina spent its entire draft on defense in 2020, so that side of the ball should see improvement going forward. Getting Lawrence on a rookie deal would be huge, as the Panthers have under $17 million in cap space for this coming year.
How does this sound to the Jets faithful? Instead of being married to an established quarterback like Prescott in the Dallas scenario, New York moves down to the currently-projected No. 6 overall pick.
The widely held consensus is Lawrence and Fields will go first and second overall. However, by the time the sixth pick rolls around, it’s very possible Wilson and Lance are still on the board.
If the Jets like either of them, boom! A new QB to build around. If not, and the new coaching staff would rather keep Darnold, they’ll have Carolina’s first three picks in the 2021 draft and its top two selections the following year.
Drafting Lawrence offers the most immediate gratification, potentially the swiftest path to a turnaround and the most upside for a rebuild. That said, there are some tantalizing trade scenarios wherein New York could even use some picks to package in deals for established star players.
As long as Douglas has conviction in his decisions and is on the same page with the new head coach he hires, the Jets figure to be in good hands.