NFL free agency: Jets trade WR Elijah Moore to Browns for 2nd-round draft pick
Elijah Moore finally got his wish.
The New York Jets sent the receiver, who requested a trade midway through the 2022 season, to the Cleveland Browns for the No. 42 overall draft pick, according to Yahoo Sports' Jori Epstein and confirmed by the Browns. New York also sent its own No. 74 overall pick to Cleveland in the deal.
Moore, 22, is heading into his third season after being taken No. 34 overall by the Jets in 2021. After an electric rookie season where he caught 43 passes for 538 yards and five touchdowns, Moore saw a slight decrease in targets and finished with 37 receptions for 446 yards and one score. The wideout expressed frustrations regarding his usage following the Jets' Week 6 win over the Green Bay Packers and was benched for Week 7.
The Jets repeatedly said they wouldn't move the young pass-catchers, but that appears to have changed. Perhaps because the Jets signed two receivers — Mecole Hardman and Allen Lazard — already this spring and have two other starters on the depth chart in Garrett Wilson and Corey Davis.
Jets add more draft picks for potential Rodgers trade
It's not often a team trades away a 22-year-old receiver unless he's injury-prone or wasn't drafted by the current regime (like Kadarius Toney being sent from the New York Giants to the Kansas City Chiefs). In this case, the Jets added another top-50 draft pick who could theoretically be used to sweeten whatever trade package the team offered the Green Bay Packers for Aaron Rodgers.
It's still unclear what the holdup is on the deal, but another second-round draft pick could be enough to get the trade to the finish line.
And while the Jets lost a quality young piece of their roster, the deals for Lazard and Hardman — and any other players Rodgers might want as well — made Moore expendable. Moore is a small price to pay for the Jets to land Rodgers, especially after Moore appeared disgruntled about his role on the team as recently as last season.
Browns beef up the offense
Moore heads to Cleveland as the Browns look to add weapons in Deshaun Watson's first full season following his 11-game suspension in 2022.
He'll join a collection of skill position players that already includes two 60-catch receivers in Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones, as well as tight end David Njoku, who caught 58 passes in 2022, and Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb. Cooper could be a salary cap casualty after the Moore trade though, either this year, or next. He would save the Browns $20 million if released after June 1 in 2023 or 2024, according to Over The Cap.