The New York Jets are going nowhere in 2020. And they seem to know it, judging by the move general manager Joe Douglas made in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s embarrassing loss to the Miami Dolphins.
The team is trading veteran defensive tackle Steve McLendon to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to NorthJersey.com. The Tampa Bay Times first reported the trade, about an hour after the Jets became the only team in the NFL to start the season 0-6.
The Jets will receive a 2022 sixth-round pick and a 2023 seventh-round pick from the Bucs.
The move won’t help the Jets get better right now. McLendon was an important part of the defense and still playing solidly at age 34. He’s also an important leader in the locker room, managing to remain positive throughout his time with the Jets despite the constant losing.
But it gives Douglas more draft capital to continue what is obviously a major rebuild. And it works out well for McLendon, who goes from the worst team in football to a playoff contender in the Bucs. He’ll be reunited with former Jets coach Todd Bowles, who is the defensive coordinator in Tamp Bay.
The Bucs and quarterback Tom Brady improved to 4-2 on Sunday with a 38-10 win over the previously undefeated Packers.
The move is just the latest sign that the Jets’ focus is now on the future. On Tuesday they released running back Le’Veon Bell, who was frustrated with his role in coach Adam Gase’s offense. Bell signed with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday.
McLendon’s departure leaves outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins as the longest-tenured player on the team. Jenkins was a third round pick for the Jets in 2016, which was also McLendon’s first season with the team.
Andy Vasquez is the Jets beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Jets analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.