FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets were involved in trade talks for wide receiver Amari Cooper (last week) and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., but they wound up standing pat at the NFL trading deadline. To borrow from the late Dennis Green, they are who we thought they were -- a team focused on tomorrow, not today.
They protected their future assets -- and they'll need plenty to repair this roster -- but you have to believe coach Todd Bowles would have appreciated some reinforcements. He's concerned about now, not the future, because his job is to win games. He has lost 27 of his past 40, so, yeah, there might be a sense of urgency, but he doesn't have the final say on trades. That belongs to general manager Mike Maccagnan.
So the Jets (3-5), losers of two straight, will have to live with their underwhelming pass rush and beaten-up group of receivers. A segment of the fan base might be upset, wishing their team had done something. Anything.
Frankly, I don't blame the Jets for not pulling the trigger on Fowler. It didn't make sense to pay a premium for a two-month rental. They've liked Fowler since 2015, when he came out of Florida, but the price was steep. The Los Angeles Rams gave up a 2019 third-round pick and a 2020 fifth-rounder for the free agent-to-be, who underachieved through most of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Rams are a Super Bowl contender; the Jets are not. They can wait until March, when they probably will try to overpay him as a free agent.
Cooper would've made sense because he's only 24 and under contract in 2019, but no team was crazy enough to meet the Oakland Raiders' demand of a first-round pick. Oh, wait, the Dallas Cowboys did just that. The Jets would've been nuts to give up that much, considering their first-round pick might be in the top 10 -- again.
Golden Tate? He's 32 years old and headed to free agency, so he wasn't a good fit for the Jets. The Philadelphia Eagles, trying to defend their Super Bowl title, sent a third-round pick to the Detroit Lions for Tate.
Demaryius Thomas? At 6-foot-3 with a wide catch radius, he would have helped rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who is being forced to make too many tight-window throws. Thomas is 30 years old, but he's signed through 2019 -- a non-guaranteed $14 million. Pricey, but he might have been worth a test drive. He wound up going to the Houston Texans, who gave up a fourth-round pick as part of their swap with the Denver Broncos.
Ty Montgomery? He would've been a good get. He's young (25), cheap ($717,000) and versatile, a running back/former wide receiver who would've been a nice replacement for the injured Bilal Powell. (Just don't let him return kickoffs.) The Baltimore Ravens got him for next to nothing, sending a 2020 seventh-round pick to the Green Bay Packers.
It looks like the Jets will roll with Isaiah Crowell in the backfield, hoping rookie Trenton Cannon can develop quickly or Elijah McGuire can return from an eight-week foot injury and make an impact. That might be a stretch.
At receiver, maybe Robby Anderson (sprained ankle) can return this week to face the Miami Dolphins. Maybe Quincy Enunwa (high-ankle sprain) can return after the bye for Week 12. He's two weeks into an injury that will sideline him four to six weeks.
We're talking about a bunch of "ifs" and "maybes." Clearly, Maccagnan didn't want to trade a piece of his future to help the present. The Jets weren't buyers or sellers, just bystanders. And Bowles will continue to fight one-handed on offense.