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How Jets Can Benefit From Saints' Salary Cap Situation, Sean Payton's Departure

The New Orleans Saints may take steps back this offseason, moving key players to shed salary. Will the New York Jets pounce and use draft capital to make a blockbuster trade?

It's safe to say the Jets and Saints are in different positions entering this offseason. 

While New York is sitting pretty with a slew of top draft picks and loads of cap space, New Orleans is in a devastating financial spot, needing to find a new head coach and franchise quarterback.

That in mind, could these two foes agree on a trade this offseason that would benefit both sides? 

The Saints are currently $74 million over the salary cap for the 2022 season (per Over The Cap), the worst financial situation for any NFL franchise. The Jets have nearly $50 million in cap space. 

Plus, with Sean Payton stepping down, this might be the best possible time for a rebuild of some sort in New Orleans. They could hit the refresh button as a new staff settles in, moving players to recoup draft picks and reposition for contention in a few years. 

In an article on on Wednesday, Nick Shook listed some of the Saints players that could hypothetically be moved over the next few months. With the unprecedented hole New Orleans needs to dig out of this offseason, every player is on the table as the brightest stars will free up the most money.

Meanwhile, the Jets profile as a club that could use draft capital to make a blockbuster move, acquiring proven talent to take a step forward in their rebuild and provide their young quarterback with more weapons. New York has picks to spare this spring, set to be on the clock nine times in the first five rounds (four selections in top-38 picks).

Shook listed a few teams as "potential buyers" for 10 different players on the Saints. He linked five of those studs to the Jets.

Here they are with Shook's analysis. Then, we'll break this down just a bit further...

Saints WR Michael Thomas celebrates touchdown
Saints DE Cameron Jordan rushes passer
Saints RB Alvin Kamara uses stiff arm against Jets
Saints guard Andrus Peat blocking up front
New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins reacts to play on defense

The Jets could be in the market for players at each of those five positions, but a top wide receiver, a veteran guard and a veteran defensive back would certainly peak Joe Douglas' interest. 

Michael Thomas would be an immediate upgrade in New York's receiver room. Imagine a group with Thomas, Corey Davis and Elijah Moore. Mix in some depth and Zach Wilson will have plenty of playmakers at his disposal.

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READ: NFL Insider Predicts Calvin Ridley Will Be Traded to This AFC East Team

Then again, as Shook alluded to, Thomas has been hit hard by injuries recently. It's tough to view his dynamic performances in 2018 and 2019 the same way considering he's only played in seven games since then. If he's healthy, though...

Cameron Jordan would be a huge boost to New York's pass rush as well, a unit that Robert Saleh will be itching to improve this offseason. Jordan has six seasons in his productive career with 10-plus sacks. Would he be worth the investment when the Jets already have Carl Lawson, Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers and more up front? They could also target a top edge rusher in the draft instead.

READ: If the Jets Can’t Draft Aidan Hutchinson, They Should Select Cameron Thomas

There are other positions that need to be addressed for this team before running back, but an opportunity to add a player of Alvin Kamara's caliber shouldn't be ignored. New York shouldn't mess with Michael Carter's growth after his promising rookie year out of the backfield, but Kamara is among the best at his position in the game. He's expensive and would cost quite a few picks in a trade, but would theoretically take this offense to new heights as well.

Andrus Peat could slot in as the Jets' new right guard, providing more protection for Wilson. There's a chance New York addresses their O-line in the draft, but Peat's veteran presence could help guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and tackle Mekhi Becton continue to develop. He's also a former first-round pick and has blossomed into a three-time Pro Bowler with New Orleans.

Finally, Malcolm Jenkins. New York has plenty of question marks in their secondary. If Marcus Maye leaves in free agency, the Jets could reel in a new veteran to help lead this young secondary. Again, there's a chance Gang Green takes a player from this position in the draft (perhaps safety Kyle Hamilton fourth overall), but New York will need to supplement this young group with proven vets.

At the end of the day, this is all speculation. Who knows how many of these players will actually be available. New Orleans has to figure out how to shed all this money, though. 

New York should certainly keep an eye on the Saints and how they take care of things going forward. They only have so much cap space to work with, but if the price is right, one of these players could be an addition that helps take this unit to the playoffs in 2022.


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