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A reasonable way for the Jets to trade for Frank Clark

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Seattle Seahawks v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Rumors are what they are. The vast majority will never come true and when I say “vast majority” I mean a percentage that is probably way higher than you think it is. My guess would be close to 99%. But some rumors make some sense and it’s worth batting around the ideas and the potential consequences.

As we reported last week, the New York Jets are being most often connected to Frank Clark trade rumors. The Jets have a new coaching staff with Adam Gase in charge and Gregg Williams now running the defense, though he maintains that the team will remain in a 3-4 base defense. That’s probably fine, Clark was viewed in the 2015 draft as a player who could fit as a 4-3 end or a 3-4 outside linebacker, which is similar to Kentucky prospect Josh Allen, who is projected to go in the top five.

It could make a bit of sense then that a rumor on Monday from Connor Hughes of The Athletic NYC that the Seahawks are asking the Jets for pick three if they want Clark:

It also makes sense that Seattle would ask for pick three because there isn’t a good alternative; New York doesn’t have their second round pick and pick 68 won’t get it done. There probably isn’t going to be a player involved that would change the deal because you have to believe that the Jets believe they’re going to compete to get into the playoffs next season: they’ve signed Le’Veon Bell, traded for Kelechi Osemele, and in this case will have acquired Clark. So they wouldn’t then give up Jamal Adams or anything.

The Jets could only acquire Clark by sacrificing their first pick, but maybe it doesn’t have to be third overall and maybe Seattle doesn’t have to include pick 21 along with Clark, as many have speculated.

As mentioned, New York doesn’t have pick 34 because they dealt it to the Colts to move up for Sam Darnold in 2018. They probably want more picks, just like Seattle does, and this year is a perfect year to move down. Not only are there are a lot of really good prospects but there’s a quarterback who seems destined to go first. Once Kyler Murray is off the board, things really begin with Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, and Allen headlining a defensive line class that will set first round records. The Jets can move down from three, add a second round pick back, and still be in position to have a valuable first round pick.

Rather than speculate on trades and returns, let’s just say that it makes a lot of sense for a few teams in particular, who have the resources, to move up to three. It also makes sense that the Seahawks might want to relieve themselves of Clark’s $17 million salary in 2019 on the franchise tag, avoid a $100 million extension, and come away with a draft pick that could be used on his immediate replacement in a draft class with an historic defensive line class. And if a Clark trade does happen, during the first round might also make the most sense.

While a player in the top-10 or top-15 of this draft will be a lot cheaper than Clark, it is also important to remember that at this point he is only a prospect. Clark will cost a lot of money and that could be prohibitive to re-signing some of your other stars, but he’s also been one of the most productive players — at the professional level — over the last three years. And the future success of Allen, Ed Oliver, Rashan Gary, Montez Sweat, and other to-be-named prospects is just speculation and fantasy so far. So if Seattle is entertaining trade offers, only doing so for a pick that could get them a higher-percentage shot at a replacement just — makes sense. But perhaps not quite as high as three.

Or, like most rumors, none of this will come true.