The Jets can afford Khalil Mack, that’s the good news. As of right now, no team will head into 2019 with more salary cap room than the Jets. They’ve got $78 million in cap space, and a potential franchise QB on a rookie contract.
So it makes all the sense in the world that the Jets would kick the tires on Mack, the best defensive end in the NFL. Mack is only 27, and has never missed a game in his career. He’s a one-man wrecking crew who is good for at least 1-2 wins all by himself during the season.
The Jets haven’t had a menace like this since Mark Gastineau, who dominated the early 80s, once setting the NFL record (since broken) with 22 sacks. Yes, Mack is already better than former Jets stars like John Abraham, Shaun Ellis and Muhammad Wilkerson.
The problem, of course, is the Raiders will want a haul in return for the best player on their team. And the Jets just gave up multiple picks to move up in the draft to get Darnold. They can’t give up more picks to get Mack, or they won’t be able to surround their QB with talent (on the line, in the backfield, basically, everywhere).
Ah, but there is one way. Flipping Teddy Bridgwater to a team in need of a QB for a 2nd & 3rd round picks, or a 1st and 4th (what the Eagles got for Sam Bradford) or something along the lines. Basically, a Super Bowl contender without a proven backup loses a starter, which limits the Jets to maybe half a dozen teams.
Short of a Bridgewater deal, the Jets simply don’t have the assets to trade for Khalil Mack.