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History of Jets' Blockbuster Draft Trades

Posted Mar 17, 2018

Green & White's Swaps for Namath, Lam Jones & Mark Sanchez, Plus Their Dealings with Colts


The Jets' tradeup today to get Indianapolis' third overall pick in the 2018 draft is more than just a big deal in terms of the coming draft. It's one of the most noteworthy trades in franchise history, on several fronts.


With the Jets sending the Colts their sixth pick, plus their two second-round choices in this draft, plus their Round 2 pick next year, it's the most draft picks the Jets have yielded in a single trade.

They did give up more picks and players combined in a trade. That in fact was their last blockbuster first-round deal in 2009 with Cleveland, when they sent two picks and three players to the Browns for the No. 5 overall choice, with which they tabbed QB Mark Sanchez.

And with more than a month to go before the 2018 draft meeting in Arlington, TX, this is the earliest the Jets have consummated a trade involving first-round picks in their history.

The Jets have engaged in a number of trades of their first-round selection over the years, but not that many involving choices in the first six picks of the draft. Reviewing the most memorable deals:

Jets Go All In on Lam in 1980
The first multiplayer megatrade for the Jets came on the morning of the 1980 draft. They packaged their 13th overall pick and Denver's 20th for San Francisco's second overall, and from that high perch they grabbed Texas WR Johnny "Lam" Jones, who then grabbed 138 passes for 13 touchdowns and a 16.8 yards/catch average in five seasons with the Green & White


In 1993 the Jets (No. 3 overall) and Phoenix (No. 4) switched first-round places right before the start of that draft. The Cardinals' target was RB Garrison Hearst, the Jets then went with LB Marvin Jones, and for moving down a rung they also got Cards RB Johnny Johnson in the bargain.

Bill Parcells' first draft as head of the Jets' football operations in 1997 famously involved him sending the first overall pick to St. Louis for four selections, then dealing the Rams' sixth pick to Tampa Bay for the Bucs' eighth pick. That's where Parcells finally brought in LB James Farrior.

In 2003 the Jets sent the 13th overall pick (from Washington for signing RFA WR Laveranues Coles), their own No. 22 overall and their own fourth-rounder to the Bears so they could take Kentucky DT Dewayne Robertson at No. 4.

And the particulars of the 2009 deal with Cleveland: They took Sanchez but it cost them their one (17th overall) and two (52nd) picks as well as DE Kenyon Coleman, S Abram Elam and QB Brett Ratliff.


Before the 1980 deal, first-round picks didn't involve quite as many players and draft spots. The Jets' first big first-round trade was no doubt one of the biggest in pro football history, and it involved merely them sending the draft rights for Tulsa QB Jerry Rhome, taken late in the 1964 American Football League Draft, to Denver for the Broncos' pick at the top of the '65 AFL Draft.

With that selection, of course, Joe Namath became a Jet.

Dealings with the Horseshoes
The Jets and Colts have been occasional trading partners over the years since Super Bowl III.

In September 1972, the Jets sent DT Chuck Hinton to the Baltimore Colts for a 1973 10th-rounder, which they used to select Delaware LB Joe Carbone, who never played for them. In January 1975, the Jets sent their fourth-rounder to Baltimore for DE Jim Bailey, who played all 14 games with eight starts in '75 for the Green & White.

In April '87 the Jets sent CB/KR Kirk Springs to the Indianapolis Colts for a 12th-round pick in 1988 but the pick reverted to the Colts when they released Springs in camp.

After a lull of a quarter of a century, the teams began to do business a little more regularly.

In March 2012, the Jets sent the just-acquired QB Drew Stanton to Indy and exchanged picks in the deal. With the Colts' sixth pick, they drafted S/ST Josh Bush, who played with them from 2012 through early in 2014.

Then in a player swap last August, the Jets sent S Ronald Martin to Indianapolis in exchange for Thomas Hennessy, who enjoyed a strong NFL rookie season as the Jets' new long snapper.