Prior to the NFL's trade deadline, Jets GM Joe Douglas made a pair of deals over the past eight days. After acquiring Joe Flacco from the Ravens for QB depth on Oct. 25th, Douglas shipped TE Dan Brown to the Chiefs in exchange for veteran G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif on Tuesday.
"If a deal wasn't made, then the value that was offered didn't meet our value for the player," he told reporters. "We feel good about the team we have. We know we have had peaks and valleys, but we feel good about this combination of youth and experience and their ability to get better and improve in these last 10 games."
Duvernay-Tardif (6-5, 321) was a long-term starter at right guard for the Chiefs before opting out of the 2020 season due to the pandemic. The McGill University product, who worked last year as an orderly at a Montreal long-term care facility, started 57 games for Kansas City from 2014-19. He broke his hand this summer and was active Monday night against the Giants for the first time since the Chiefs beat the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.
"He came back and had a great preseason, had a hand injury that kept him out of some games," Douglas said. "But again, like I said with Joe, it's an opportunity to add a Super Bowl champion to the room and you guys know how I feel about offensive and defensive lines and obviously quarterback. If there is an opportunity to improve those rooms, any room, we're going to do it. LDT brings that championship pedigree, high character person, obviously very smart guy and can't wait to get him in here and see him compete."
Despite speculation that Marcus Maye could be a target for multiple teams, the longest tenured Jet will continue to lead the defensive backfield over the team's final 10 games.
"Marcus is a valued member of this team, love having him here and he's a fantastic young player," Douglas said. "As you guys know, he's under his franchise tag so, we cannot renegotiate any deal with him until the end of the season and we have 10 games left to evaluate him and every other member of this team."
The Jets will begin that final 10-game stretch with Mike White making his second consecutive start. White was sensational last Sunday, leading the Jets to a 34-31 win over the Cincinnati Bengals while passing for 405 yards and connecting on 82% of his passes with 3 TDs in a historic performance.
"All the work he was able to put in in the shadows, he was able to showcase that when he got his opportunity," Douglas said of White, a fifth-round pick of the Cowboys in 2018. "The really cool thing about it was there was no Herculean effort from Mike, it was just taking what the defense gave him, executing the offense effectively and efficiently and making the most of his opportunity, making great decisions, throwing accurate passes.
"I'm so happy for Mike because this is what football's all about. You root for guys who kind of do their thing in the shadows and make the most of their opportunity."
Douglas is also pleased with Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall selection in April's draft who is out 2-4 weeks with a PCL sprain.
"I feel absolutely that he's progressing and I feel like he was on his way to really taking off in that New England game prior to the injury," Douglas said of Wilson, who has hit on 57.5% of his passes for 1,168 yards with 4 TDs and 9 INTs in six starts. He added "He's a tough-minded young man, he has a great work ethic and I think you're going to see him shoot up and his arrow is pointed straight up and he's going to continue to get better every day once he gets back on the field."
While many will wonder what could happen at QB for the Jets if White continues to shine, Douglas wasn't about to look into any hypotheticals two days out from Jets-Colts in Indianapolis.
"At this point, positive vibes only and we have a tough assignment this week in terms of Indianapolis," he said. "That's our only focus and getting Mike ready for Indianapolis and trying to beat a very tough opponent on the road on a short week. That is our primary focus and I'm in lockstep with Coach. Anything other than that, we'll cross that bridge when we get there."
After starting 2-5 and having the most snaps taken by rookies this season (2,432 snaps), Douglas praised the work of the coaching staff and complimented a few key veterans who have helped the young players make their pro transitions.
"I can't help but think about where we are as a team and our youth and where they are and how much of a credit that is to Coach Saleh and his staff and their ability to develop and work with all these young players," Douglas said. "I feel like we have a really interesting mix, obviously we lead the league in rookie snaps and that's a lot for a first-year staff. To their credit, they have attacked it since day one and they've done a great job developing these young players.
"But also it's been a good mix of young players and veteran players, guys like Morgan, guys like C.J. (Mosley), guys like Marcus, guys like George Fant. And to see them really help these young players grow into NFL contributors, it's been fun to watch. Obviously there have been some peaks and valleys this year. You've seen that with our first few games and I think you see that with the youth on this team. But these guys, their grit, their passion, their toughness, their strain, like Coach Saleh talks about it, you see that too."