Without a doubt, there is no position more important in the game of football than quarterback. It is a position of game-changers who can change the outcome of a contest in an instant and be the face of a franchise for years on end. Simply take a look at what Tom Brady did against the New York Jets for decades, and how he turned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into Super Bowl champions in one year.
Currently, the Jets do not have a franchise quarterback. As Sam Darnold enters his fourth-year, he has merely shown flashes of his potential. The mere fact the Jets are exploring their options under center proves they are unsure of who will be playing quarterback next year. Maybe it is one of the rookies they can take at second overall, being BYU’s Zach Wilson, Justin Fields of Ohio State, or Trey Lance from North Dakota State.
Or maybe the team does in fact pull of a shocker in acquiring one of the big-name quarterbacks who could be available. For weeks, the Jets have been linked to Deshaun Watson, as he has repeatedly voiced his displeasure with the Houston Texans and wants out. Now, the team has been in and out of rumors for Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. The bottom line is nobody knows at this moment what the Jets may do at quarterback. Nonetheless, one thing for sure is Quinnen Williams must not be included in any trade.
New York Jets Cannot Deal Quinnen Williams in Trade for Quarterback
The Trade Speculation
Again, the Jets are a team that has come up as a destination for both Watson and Wilson – two of the best quarterbacks in the game. Both have the ability to elevate the players around them and lead their teams. Watson has won postseason football to an extent, and Wilson has won a Super Bowl. No Jets quarterback since Joe Namath can say they even appeared in one while with the organization.
Apart from need, the Jets also have the means to acquire a quarterback. The team has four first-round picks over the next two years and has six of the first 100 selections in the 2021 NFL Draft. New York also has a ton of cap space capable of taking on a hefty contract.
What the team does not have outside of picks are many player assets. The Jets went 2-14 for a reason this past season, and those two wins shocked the league. When taking a look at the roster, there are truly two untouchable players under contract, being Mekhi Becton and Quinnen Williams. Nonetheless, Williams has come up multiple times in mock trades.
Quinnen Williams’ Side
As trade speculation has continued, Williams recently voiced his own opinion on the matter. When appearing on CBS Sports Radio, Williams said regarding a potential trade, “Yeah, I’d be disappointed. I really want to be a Jet for life. I like New York and I want to play in New York. I’d be disappointed if they traded me and didn’t tell me.”
It is that spirit and loyalty that the Jets need in their locker room as they move on from the horrid Adam Gase era. New head coach Robert Saleh is in Florham Park to change the culture around the Jets and needs players who want to be there. Clearly, Quinnen Williams is one of them.
The New York Jets Must Build Around Quinnen Williams
As previously mentioned, the Jets have a new man in charge in Saleh. With him, the team will be moving to a new defensive scheme, being a 4-3, and need players to build around. Marcus Maye is not guaranteed to return as he is a free agent, and who knows what C.J. Mosley’s outlook is in 2021.
Therefore, the Jets must build around Williams. Right off of the back, the 23-year-old is coming off a massive jump in production during his second year. In 13 games, Williams posted multiple career-high marks, with seven sacks, 55 total tackles (10 for a loss), 14 quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles. Per Pro Football Focus, Williams had the 12th highest grade of 126 qualifying interior defensive lineman with an 81.4 mark.
Entering 2021, there is no reason why Williams should not continue to improve. The uber-athletic 6-3 and 303-pound defensive lineman is built for a 4-3 defensive scheme, not the 3-4 scheme he has played in so far. Outside of Folorunso Fatukasi and John Franklin-Myers, the Jets have no locks upfront to make the roster. As general manager Joe Douglas pieces together Saleh’s defensive line, he must add players to complement Williams, not replace him should he be dealt.
At the end of the day, Gang Green’s top priority this off-season is figuring out the answer at quarterback. Whether it be Darnold, a rookie, or a star they can trade for. But the Jets cannot let the solution involve dealing away Quinnen Williams, their most promising and best defensive player under contract for 2021.
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