Quinnen Williams would be “disappointed” if dealt from the New York Jets

Quinnen Williams, New York Jets

After a breakout season in the midst of a brutal year for the New York Jets, Quinnen Williams wants to stick around for the long haul.

Armchair general managers of the New York Jets have routinely shipped off Quinnen Williams in hypothetical trades that often end with Deshaun Watson…or, after Thursday, Russell Wilson…wearing green (or, at least in Wilson’s case, a different shade of it).

But Williams made it clear this week that he would be the first to veto such a trade.

Appearing on The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio, Williams expressed his wishes to keep wearing a Jets helmet after his breakout sophomore season.

“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,” Williams told Gelb. He referred to Watson as an elite quarterback but reiterated his desire to play in Robert Saleh’s defense. Williams was one of the first players to praise the hire of Williams, joining his former San Francisco pupil Richard Sherman. The Jets’ top pick in the 2019 draft (third overall) understands a potential trade is a business decision out of his hands. But the praise for Saleh continued on Gelb’s program.

“I just handle what I can handle, just control what I can control. Just go out and work hard as I can for any team that I’m on. Hopefully, it’s the Jets so I can play with Coach (Robert) Saleh, but any team I’m on, I just work my hardest so that when that comes around I can be the best player I can be.”

“To get the chance to see that scheme and that front four and just the different things Coach Saleh brought to that defense, I can’t wait to get around him and pick his brain and get him to bring that to the New York Jets,” he continued. “You can tell he brings passion to the game, passion to where he’s coaching, just passion…You have to bring passion, you got to bring love and dedication to your job. So you could see he brings all of that into coaching.”

This isn’t the first time Williams has found himself in the middle of speculation. His name was previously the subject of rumors during the 2019 trade deadline, but the Jets opted to stand pat. Their patience paid off. In the midst of a brutal 2-14 season, Williams established himself as one of the top interior defensive linemen in football. He led the Jets with seven sacks and ten tackles for a loss.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Jamal Adams has the last laugh (for now)

Jamal Adams

Jamal Adams’ methods of departure were unconventional, but one look at the current New York Jets shows that he had a point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zip7sTieTRY&ab_channel=NFL

Looking back on the calamity that was 2020, it’s hard to believe that some noteworthy occurrences happened this year. Phenomena like the rebooted XFL, the tweaked NBA All-Star Game, and the world’s uncanny fascination with Netflix’s Tiger King seem like they happened decades ago, but will forever be copyrighted with the insignia of 2020.

New York Jets fans likely feel the same way with Jamal Adams and his turbulent exit.

Surprisingly, it’s been less than a full calendar year since Adams donned the green, black, and white that the modern New York Jets’ uniforms carry. A wet, dreary contest against a Buffalo Bills team resting starters for the playoffs saw Adams register three tackles and a pass breakup in a 13-6 Jets win. Utterly forgettable by every sense of the football imagination, it stands as a gridiron landmark if only because that’s the last time the Jets have been on the right end of an NFL scoreboard.

At the time, few could envision that it would be the last dance for Adams (and Robby Anderson, but the Jets don’t play Carolina until 2021). Adams had avoided addressing the future but certainly implied there was one between him and the Jets by referring to the otherwise meaningless win as “the start of our next season”.

“It’s confidence carrying over into the off-season,” Adams said of the game, per Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com. “Everybody is going to be watching the playoffs and we’re going to have a bad taste in our mouths, but it’s just going to feed us.”

That meal, of course, never came. Apparently miffed at the lack of a long-term contract, Adams went to pretty much napalm every bridge he had left in New York, routinely calling out the organization’s failures since he joined the team as a first-round pick in 2017 and telling anyone who would listen that he wanted out unless a stable contract was presented. The Jets eventually struck a deal with the Seattle Seahawks, sending Adams over for Bradley McDougald and a pair of first-round choices.

But Adams’ true frustrations really seemed to stem from the Jets’ lack of on-field success. He was more than happy to join the Seahawks even when Seattle stressed patience in offering him the desired deal. The ongoing health crisis could’ve well played a role, but the optics made it seem like Adams was turning the Jets into a punchline one last time.

Even when the deal has done, neither side has truly seemed to have gotten over their breakup. A reunion awaits this weekend as the Jets descend upon Lumen Field on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS), and the parting of ways remains fresh on each party’s mind.

Jamal Adams
CREDIT: McManus Designs

It was obvious that Adams’ get-together with his former comrades was going to come up during each side’s weekly availability. Head coach Adam Gase’s comments made headlines earlier this week when he was dumbfounded by the idea of animosity between him and the defender.

“I thought it was good, but obviously he felt different. I don’t know, I never had any poor interactions with him,” Gase said, per Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports. “he was somebody I talked to a lot and communicated with. Just kind of once the offseason hit, that’s kind of where…there’s nothing I can do, I’m not in charge of contracts. I’m not involved in those talks. That’s kind of where his agent and front office guys got to go to work.”

“I knew when we lost how much it hurt him, like I knew that. He’s a competitor, man. He has no interest in coming on the wrong end of the stick in the win-loss column. He feels like he sells out and gives everything he has, and he wants to win. I mean he wants to do everything he can to win.”

Adams spoke later in the week and offered a roller-coaster, maybe even contradictory, statement about his time in New York.

“The guys that make the decisions over there, they just didn’t value me like Seattle does and I appreciate that,” he said, per Brady Henderson of ESPN. “There’s no hard feelings towards them. They had different views. I had a different view, but at the end of the day, I’m just happy to be where I am and I have an organization that believes in me, believes I can get it done, and thinks highly of me. That’s all I can ask for, man. It’s just all about respect for me.”

The defender’s comments have been, and will continue to be, scrutinized to no end. But at this point, no rationally-minded football fan can deny that the last laugh belongs to Adams.

Adams or no Adams, 2020 was going to be a struggle for the modern Jets. Even with expanded playoff real estate, too many established served as roadblocks to the seven-team sweepstakes. But the team nonetheless looked at their future with a sense of immediacy. one look from the Jets’ offseason ledger should’ve told Adams that 2020 was not the time or place to think about a long-term deal. Debate can reign over whether that message was conveyed clearly, but Adams certainly didn’t believe it was, even as the Jets added free agents on a de facto audition-style basis. But what was done is done. There’s no use in looking at what feels like ancient history or analyzing the ins and outs of a deal that will only be complete by 2022 at the earliest.

The best move the Jets could’ve made in the deal’s aftermath was to wish Adams well and focus on their own affairs. Bygones could be bygones…let Adams worry about his past, let the focus be on the future. Alas, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams couldn’t get on board with that.

“Jamal may get bored there because they don’t use their safety-type things with all the complexities, maybe not showing what they’re doing as much as we do,” Williams said per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, taking a shot at Seattle’s propensity for a Cover 3. “We’ll still do a lot of the same exact things, but we’ll highlight the people we have here. As you saw what we did (last season), he had maybe his most productive year here because of how we highlighted the skill set he has.”

In perhaps a bit of irony reserved for the darkest reaches of the popular sports-prognostication-gone-wrong account @OldTakesExposed, Williams is left to brood in boredom while Adams closes in on history.

Adams has served as the closest thing to a consistent silver lining that Seattle has had in an otherwise brutal year defensively in the secondary. Only lowly Jacksonville has let up more yardage through the air than the Seahawks (407.4 per game), whose roller-coaster season has reached a new valley with a loss to the Jets’ blue metropolitan counterparts last weekend. But Adams has carried on his propensity for backfield invasions. In only eight games, he has broken his career-best in sacks set last season in New York with 7.5…a half-takedown short of Adrian Wilson for the most by a defensive back in a single season. The fateful sack could well victimize Sam Darnold with both Greg Van Roten and Alex Lewis out on the offensive line and Denzel Mims missing from the receiving corps.

Such a happening would no doubt cause many to break out the “LOL Jets” memes and serve as another bumbling chapter in the Jets’ ongoing trek toward complete 16-game imperfection. It would go well beyond a simple sack, but, if it were to happen, could well personify and fulfill Adams’ most damning comments bestowed to his former green employers.

New York Jets, Jamal Adams
 Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Adams sat down with Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden on the latter duo’s All Things Covered podcast in November. In a discussion about his time and falling out with the Jets, Adams admitted he suffered from depression as the losses piled in New York. It was enough for Adams’ father George, himself a former first-round pick in New York (albeit for the Jets’ blue counterparts), to start encouraging Adams’ agent to start looking for greener pastures…ones that didn’t include “Jets” imprinted on his helmet.

“I fought depression in New York,” Adams said on the podcast. “I’m man enough to say it. I came home after a tough loss and just sat in my room in the dark. No phone, no TV. (My dad) hated to see me like that. It killed my pops so much.”

“Rebuild” became a dreaded buzzword. The aforementioned win over Buffalo was commemorated with a locker room celebration as it allowed the Jets to finish 7-9…unacceptable elsewhere, but a cause for jubilation in New York, which had reached such a summit for only the second time over the last six full seasons.

Admas’ biggest takeaway? “They do not want to win”.

“Money’s a plus, but I love the game of football,” Adams said. “I love what I do … I was sick of hearing ‘the rebuild year’,” Adams continued. “I was bringing the juice back to the Jets,” Adams said. “I simply told them, ‘Hey man, if you guys want to keep me here to be a Jet for life, let’s sit down and talk. This is after the fact they told me, ‘We wanna offer you an extension. I felt like I was being disrespected.”

“Let’s be honest, the Jets were the laughingstock. (Seattle) is how the NFL is supposed to be. This is the dream I was dreaming.”

Williams’ ousting is the latest move of an ongoing purge that should continue well into the Jets’ offseason. Among those who went before him were Adams’ fellow defensive starters like Avery Williams, Steve McLendon, and Pierre Desir. Le’Veon Bell was cast away from the offense through an outright release months after little, if any, attempt was made to keep Anderson, who’s now a beacon in the Carolina’s more organized rebuild. All the while, Gase, who has had to snuff out rumors of in-fighting between him, Adams, and Bell, continues to oversee the operation, somehow inching his way closer to the upper half of the league’s longest-tenured coaches. His ousting could well come after yet another meaningless Week 17 game, this one coming in Foxboro against the Patriots on January 3. But considering all the names the Jets have given up on before they gave up on Gase, his firing feels anything but certain.

Does that sound like a team that wants to win?

Seattle winning the early portions of this trade was likely to be expected. McDougald, who spent a majority of this season injured, is the only piece of the Adams trade with a name so far, as the Jets are set to choose twice in each of the next two opening draft rounds after acquiring Seattle’s picks. Adams was the perfect piece for a team on the cusp of the Super Bowl to add, and he’s doing what he can to help his new cause. In Seattle, seven wins is a step, not a destination.

But, through their play, the Jets are proving Adams right, almost writing their own warning for any big-name talent that want to join their cause through free agency or the draft.

The Jets’ first step in yet another reset must be to prove Adams wrong. That, more than likely, won’t involve victories in the early going. If the heartbreak against Las Vegas from last weekend proved anything, it’s that the Jets really couldn’t care in the slightest about the concept of tanking. If anything, they should continue to use these final four weeks to build any positives and complete their offseason shopping list for yet another reset.

If it proves Adams wrong in the process…well, they’ll take any kind of victory they can get at this point.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets trade for Miami RB Kalen Ballage (Report)

Kalen Ballage

After two seasons in with the Dolphins, Ballage will reportedly reunite with Adam Gase via a trade to the New York Jets.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the New York Jets are sending over a conditional late-round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for rusher Kalen Ballage. Specific terms of the deal have yet to be announced.

Ballage, 24, left the Dolphins’ training camp practice early on Wednesday in Davie and was set to be released by the Dolphins before the Jets reportedly stepped in.

The 24-year-old entered the league as a fourth-round pick (131st overall) out of Arizona State. Collegiately, Ballage is best known for scoring a Football Bowl Subdivision Record eight touchdowns for the Sun Devils in their 2016 win over Texas Tech.

The trade reunites Ballage with New York Jets head coach Adam Gase, who oversaw his rookie season with the Dolphins. Ballage burst onto the scene in the late stages of 2018, tallying 123 yards on 12 carries in a December tilt against Minnesota. The big day was punctuated by a 75-yard scoring rush that opened the second half.

“That long run he had, that’s how he runs every day. That’s how he finishes every day,” Gase said after the Minnesota game, per Alain Poupart of MiamiDolphins.com “There’s a reason why he’s able to do that and was confident to just gas it and run by everybody because every day in practice we watch the same thing. When he gets a carry with the offense, he finishes in the end zone. It’s a good trait to have.”

His debut season ended with 191 yards and a 5.3 average.

He took on an increased role with six starts during the 2019 season but dealt with a leg injury and struggles, seeing his average drop to 1.8. Ballage has also earned 119 yards on 23 receptions during his Dolphins tenure.

While trading for Ballage, who was set to be let go as is, makes sense from a familiarity standpoint (having worked with Gase and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains in Miami), the rushers’ room has gotten a little crowded. Incumbent starter Le’Veon Bell is set to return, and the Jets also added veteran Frank Gore this offseason. Gore previously worked with Ballage in Miami during the 2018 season.

The team also chose Florida alum Lamical Perine in the fourth round of April’s draft. Veteran reserve Josh Adams also returns and undrafted Monmouth-produced rookie Pete Guerriero was signed earlier this week.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Report: New York Jets have had trade discussions about Marcus Maye

New York Jets, Marcus Maye

The New York Jets could in a bit of a bind when it comes to their top free safety, who is set to be a free agent in 2021.

Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the New York Jets have engaged in trade talks centered around starting free safety Marcus Maye.

Maye has been a solid contributor to the Jets since joining the team a second-round draft pick (39th overall) in 2017. The Florida alum has earned 178 tackles, 11 pass breakups, and four interceptions over the last three seasons. He has formed a strong relationship with fellow starting safety and SEC alum Jamal Adams, with the two forming a formidable duo in the secondary.

But with both defenders set to enter the final year of their rookie contracts and a big payday potentially coming Adams’ way, it appears that the Jets will at least try to get something for Maye before he potentially leaves for nothing in free agency. Mehta’s report said that both head coach Adam Gase and general manager Joe Douglas engaged in trade talks involving Maye, but no such deals were made. Maye would recover from an injury-riddled 2018 campaign to pick up 65 tackles, seven breakups, and an interception last year.

Adding to the case in trading for Maye is the fact the Jets bolstered their secondary depth this offseason. During the third round of last month’s draft, New York chose versatile safety Ashtyn Davis from Cal-Berkeley (68th overall). Davis earned all-Pac-12 honors over his last two seasons with the Golden Bears and also doubled as the team’s returner. The Jets also added cornerbacks in both the draft (fifth-rounder Bryce Hall) and free agency (Pierre Desir, Brian Poole).

Adams’ fifth-year option would set the Jets back $9.8 million if they choose to pick it up in 2021. Preliminary discussions have been held about a long-term extension or the franchise tag could be used (at the risk of an Adams holdout).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

NFL Draft: New York Jets deal final day two pick to New England

The New York Jets earned three picks from the New England Patriots, in exchange for a pick they previously wrangled from Seattle.

The New York Jets ended the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft with a little bit of history.

For the second time in their respective timelines, the Jets engaged in a trade with the New England Patriots. New York sent over the 101st over pick, the 37th selection in Friday’s third round proceedings. The yield was a pair of choices in Saturday’s fourth round (Nos. 125 and 129), as well as a sixth-round pick in 2021.

New England subsequently used the pick on the latter of back-to-back tight ends, Virginia Tech’s Dalton Keene. They previously chose Devin Asiasi out of UCLA with the 91st pick.

Though trades between the AFC East rivals are indeed rare, this is the second deal they’ve made over the past seven months. In September, the Jets ironically sent over a 2021 sixth-round pick to the Patriots in exchange for receiver Demaryius Thomas.

The Jets now own six selections over the final four rounds of the virtual draft, which will finish up on Saturday (12:00 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN/NFL Network). In addition to the newly acquired Patriots picks, they own their bestowed slots in the fourth (No. 120), fifth (158th), and sixth rounds (191st) and a sixth-round choice from Kansas City (via the 2019 Darron Lee trade). Their seventh-round pick was sent to Baltimore in a trade for offensive lineman Alex Lewis made late last offseason.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets trade No. 48 pick to Seattle Seahawks

Right before they went on the clock for the first time on Friday, the New York Jets dealt the 48th pick of the 2020 draft to Seattle.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the New York Jets traded the 48th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft to the Seattle Seahawks. New York will get back the 59th and 101st selections.

Seattle would use the pick on Tennessee defensive Darrell Taylor. The Knoxville alum and Hopewell, Virginia native had 19.5 sacks over the past three seasons, including a career-best 8.5 last year. He notably put up six tackles and 1.5 sacks in the Volunteers’ narrow victory over Indiana in the Taxslayer Gator Bowl in January.

The Jets now own four picks during Friday’s proceedings. They will choose in the 59th, 68th, 78th, and 101st. The most latter pick was a compensatory pick for the Seahawks after safety Earl Thomas left in free agency.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

The New York Giants Should Trade For Vikings Safety Anthony Harris

New York Giants, Anthony Harris

The New York Giants spent much money in free agency this offseason. They made a couple of splash signings on defense with linebacker Blake Martinez and cornerback James Bradberry. But New York’s defense still has room for improvement.

The 2020 NFL Draft will take place in sixteen days. Rumors indicate that the Giants are going to prioritize upgrading the defense in the draft. New York has invested a sizeable amount of draft capital into their secondary over the past two seasons. But there are some talented safeties in this year’s class that the Giants could plug into the rotation along with Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love.

Outside of the NFL Draft, there is still a way for New York to acquire an uber-talented safety. Prior to the New League Year, the Giants reportedly did have an interest in signing Anthony Harris. Unfortunately, the Vikings placed the franchise tag on Harris, keeping him off the open market. But the elite Vikings safety is still available if the Giants are still interested. According to Ian Rapoport, the Vikings “acknowledged to teams that Harris could be had for a mid-to-late round draft pick.” The highest-graded safety in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, could be acquired via trade for a mid-to-late round pick. This is something the Giants should be all over- and apparently, they are.

Anthony Harris Back On The Trade Block

According to new reports, an Anthony Harris trade possibility is “back on the table.” Darren Wolfson of KSTP-TV reports that the contract negotiations between the Minnesota Vikings and Anthony Harris are “not quite going so well.” Later in the report, “Wolfson mentions the New York Giants as a potential suitor.” The rumors seem to indicate that the Giants are attempting to trade for Harris, though the Vikings might have their price set a little too high.

With the NFL Draft just sixteen days away, the Vikings and Giants would have to come to terms on a trade pretty soon if it is going to happen. The deal would involve moving draft capital and could shift each team’s respective draft plans.

Why The Giants Should Make This Trade

The price of trading for Anthony Harris is unknown. However, the initial asking price at the start of free agency, according to Ian Rapoport, was a “mid-to-late round draft pick.” If the price has gone up marginally, it still is likely a bargain deal for one of the best safeties in the NFL.

Anthony Harris is a ball-hawking coverage safety. In 2019, the Vikings safety led the NFL in interceptions with 6 picks, one of which was a pick-six. He also added 11 passes defended and 60 combined tackles (with only 3 missed tackles), both of which were a career-high. Quarterbacks struggle to throw into Anthony’s coverage. Harris had a 44.2 passer rating allowed when targeted. His coverage was targeted 23 times, and he allowed 15 completions for only 151 yards, 0 touchdowns, and those 6 interceptions.

Trading for Anthony Harris would instantly upgrade the Giants’ secondary. A move like this would not push any talent to the bottom of the depth chart, either. Jabrill Peppers will still start at strong safety. Julian Love will be able to move back to his original position, slot cornerback. A secondary featuring Harris, Peppers, Love, Baker, and Bradberry could be a quarterback’s worst nightmare.

New York Jets: Three Trade Proposals for Trent Williams

Landing the veteran blocker would situate the New York Jets’ offense in an enviable spot. How can they pull it off?

The New York Jets have gotten a lot done this NFL offseason. But their work isn’t over yet.

Floating rumors continue to propose that the Jets may seek a trade with the Washington Redskins to acquire offensive tackle Trent Williams. Improvements have been made on the offensive line to the tune of adding Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant. But adding someone like Williams, a seven-time Pro Bowler, could be a move that truly revolutionizes a Jets offense seeking traction for backfield saviors Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell.

How can they bring Williams in? ESM explores three possibilities…

Proposal 1: 3rd round pick (79th overall) for OT Trent Williams 

Washington is in need of a second day two draft pick, having traded their second-round choice in a pick swap with Indianapolis last year. The Jets are blessed with a miniature surplus, earning extra draft capital from the New York Giants at the 2019 trade deadline (from the Leonard Williams deal). There’s still plenty to work on when it comes to the Jets’ roster, but the solidification of the offensive line ensures that they don’t technically need as many draft picks as first envisioned. Essentially “drafting” Trent Williams in the third round with a pick obtained from the Redskins’ NFC East rival would a surprise to be sure, but one the Jets would hardly argue about.

Proposal 2: LB Avery Williamson, 6th round pick (211th overall) for OT Trent Williams

The Jets still have several names that could be let go in the name of cap savings. Brian Winters’ ousting would save them just over $7.2 million, but his starting experience and potential for depth might sway the team to let him stick around. More tenuous is the situation of linebacker Avery Williamson, who would add $6.5 million to the cap if bid farewell by June 1.

Matching savings would come to the Jets if they deal Williamson (entering the final year of a three-year, $22.5 million contract) in a trade. The Jets have done a decent job in bolstering their linebacker depth this offseason. They convinced Jordan Jenkins (career-high 8 sacks) to come back on a one-year deal (worth an astonishingly affordable $5 million), brought in C.J. Mosley’s Baltimore teammate Patrick Onwuasor, and welcomed back solid depth men Neville Hewitt and James Burgess. Thus, Williamson is a bit more expendable than he was a week or two ago. If that caveat helps the Jets give up a less valuable draft pick for Williams (the 191st was acquired from Kansas City for Darron Lee), that could play into their favor.

Proposal 3: 3rd round pick (79th overall), and/or 6th round pick (179th overall)/a player for OT Trent Williams and WR Trey Quinn

With the offensive line relatively bolstered, or at least in a far better position than it ever was in the Mike Maccagnan era, the Jets have other areas of their offensive to worry about. They’re in desperate need of receivers now that Robby Anderson has left for Charlotte. Le’Veon Bell may need depth behind him with both Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery up for free agency. The Jets can perhaps use a trade with the Redskins, provided they’re willing to give up a little more, to bolster these spots.

Quinn would be an intriguing developmental prospect that could flourish in an expanded role. 2018’s Mr. Irrelevant has dealt with injuries, but has shown potential in his brief time (35 receptions, 273 yards, 2 touchdowns). The Jets previously took on Washington system receivers Josh Doctson and Jehu Chesson. Further veteran secondary help on the Redskins’ depth chart includes cornerback Fabian Moreau.

As for who the Jets would give up in such a trade, it’s possible they could part ways with a veteran blocker (i.e. Jonotthan Harrison) or defender (John Franklin-Myers?). If it saves them valuable draft capital, that might be the way to go.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

How the Yankees Could Move JA Happ’s $17 Million Contract

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

The biggest contract on the payroll for the New York Yankees in 2020 isn’t Gerrit Cole belongs to JA Happ. Happ was pedestrian last year, but he still has one more year worth $17 million, with a $17 million 2021 worked into the contract if he hits certain benchmarks in 2020. Not many people are jumping at the chance to pick up a near 40-year-old lefty, who was quite bad last season. But an opportunity still exists for the Yankees to move Happ. If they want to get creative.

Look to the Mets

When the Seattle Mariners traded Cano to the Mets last season, it was to dump the $24 million season to season Cano is scheduled to get through 2023. So how did Seattle sweeten the deal, making it an easier pill for the Mets to swallow? Throwing in Edwin Diaz. Diaz is still working under a contract where he’ll be controlled through arbitration until 2023. The Yankees could sweeten the deal by attaching a young, controllable pitcher to JA Happ.

Who Could the Yankees Attach?

Deivi Garcia needs an opportunity to show his worth in the Bronx, first and foremost. Jonathan Loaisiga could sweeten the deal just enough, as he’s controlled through 2025. I’ve made the case that Albert Abreu has a more promising future as a reliever in the bigs than as a starter, and Abreu’s arbitration clock hasn’t even begun yet. Eventually, some of these men will have to be moved due to Rule 5 draft stipulations. And wouldn’t you rather try to get something out of losing these guys rather than losing them due to MLB regulations?

But, hanging onto Happ has its advantages currently. He could rebound to be a serviceable pitcher to fill in for Domingo German as he serves his suspension. But, unless Happ proves himself by the trade deadline, that’s the Yankees most realistic chance to dump Happ’s contract.

What the Yankees Should Learn from the Mets About Josh Hader

New York Yankees, Josha Hader

The Yankees offseason is now squarely rooted in relief pitcher, Josh Hader, of the Milwaukee Brewers. Hader is going to come with a hefty price tag, and, no, it’s not the generic “Yankee tax.” It’s “The Brewers know what they have, and they know everyone wants him. Why wouldn’t they ask for a king’s ransom for a guy who’s trade value is at ITS HIGHEST?!”

The Mets Went for Hader. Here’s What The Brewers Wanted

The Mets reportedly made a play for Josh Hader. The Brewers wanted first baseman Dominic Smith (.282/.355/.525 with 11 home runs in 89 games last season), Steven Matz (who plays a crucial part in the Mets rotation moving forward), and two “highly regarded prospects.” Could have been Ronny Mauricio, could have been Brett Baty, could have been Fransisco Alvarez, it could have been anyone. But with that kind of offer on the table, the Mets (understandably) went with Dellin Betances. 

Yankees Fans Should Take Note of This

The Brewers weren’t interested in Edwin Diaz, whom the Mets would probably like to unload after his abysmal 2019. They didn’t go for mediocre players who are, at best, average or over the hill. They didn’t go for guys who could be on the big club but aren’t because there isn’t room. They went for guys who are both A) Highly regarded, and B) Major League Ready.

That merely means offering Miguel Andujar, or Gio Urshela won’t cut it. And they won’t take Clint Frazier either because, with an outfield of Yelich, Cain, and former Yankee Ben Gamel, Frazier would downgrade their outfield. JA Happ wouldn’t interest them; they’d want Devi Garcia to go with the third baseman of their choice. They’d also want Johnathan Loaisiga, or Albert Abreu, as well as Estevan Florial, or Clarke Shmidt. 

The Brewers want a haul for one relief pitcher. We’re stocked to the gils with talent, and trading for a player shouldn’t require giving it all up. The Yankees realistically don’t need Hader. His effectiveness may plummet due to the fact he’s a National League pitcher, and his capabilities won’t fool American League hitters as much. 

If the Yankees need Hader, wait until mid-March to pull this trade. Striking when the value of a player is low makes more sense than giving up the farm for a relief arm that’s not a necessity. This only portrays the desperation of oner, Hal Steinbrenner.