When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way. From your first cigarette to your last dying day.
Between being the second team in the nation’s largest media market, being flush with cash, and owning serious draft capital, there are reasons why the New York Jets are being pushed hard as a destination for NFL players in search of new homes and fresh paper.
I offer up this Jets stuff as free-agent-to-be Allen Robinson used his Twitter likes to make a point. Because while it was unsurprising to see Robinson press the little heart under these messages – he isn’t the first and won’t be the last to use social media to make a point of something – the common theme of the Jets connection can’t be ignored. So we won’t ignore it.
Be ready to see this tweet shared, re-shared, and cited throughout the offseason:
The Jets could have $80M in cap space or more by the time free agency begins. They have 5 first round picks over the next 3 drafts, tied with the Lions for the most.
Any player available – be it free agency or a trade – the Jets have the resources to try and acquire him. https://t.co/9rhU6WS1n3
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 3, 2021
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) March 3, 2021
And in a podcast appearance with Richard Sherman, Robinson expressed his excitement about playing in a big market.
Robinson recalled his feelings upon arriving in Chicago, saying: “I remember when I signed to Chicago. I got off the flight and started going around Chicago like, Wow, this is a huge market. They love the Bears. A ton of energy.”
He also briefly added this as an aside: “And I’m assuming New York is probably very similar to that when it comes to the Jets, and the Giants, and being in the Big Apple. That’s where I train anyway in the offseason, so I’m up there a lot.”
That’s interesting verbiage when placed next to Robinson’s social media activity. Maybe this is Robinson’s way of signaling his preference to go to New York. Again, he wouldn’t be the first player to leverage social media for their desires. But with Pace holding the power of the Franchise Tag, he is using the last ounce of leverage he owns. If this is where the two sides land, then I wonder if there’s a meeting in the middle.
I suppose a tag-and-trade wouldn’t be out of the question. But pulling it off isn’t easy. The player needs to be on board with the plan, sign their tender, and sign off on whatever new deal is coming their way. All while the team receives what it deems to be fair value in return. In short, there are a lot of moving parts. And they’ll be tough to move in conjunction with one another.
Even if it were plausible, the Bears aren’t going to let Robinson slip away so easily. At least, they shouldn’t. Chicago just can’t afford to trade Robinson without getting something substantial in return. Pace is heading into the final year of his contract and is trying to prove he is worthy of new paper of his own. Through that lens, it’s tough to imagine Pace signing off on a deal that ships off his best offensive player for future draft capital he might not be around to use.
As for the idea of trading Robinson in a deal for Sam Darnold … yuck.
If the Bears trade their best and most consistent offensive player for a reclamation project quarterback coming off a career-worst season, then Pace might as well freshen up his résumé. Better yet, I’ll start working on 2022 NFL Draft QB profiles. That’ll give me plenty of time to prepare myself for the backlash to Bears fans learning the projected QB1 is playing his college ball at North Carolina.