NFL insider hints Haason Reddick trade was Jets’ backup plan to bolster pass rush

The New York Jets acquired Pro Bowl pass rusher Haason Reddick in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, but reporting from an NFL insider suggests he was not their first choice.

Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles
Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The New York Jets missed out on veteran pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney to the Carolina Panthers in free agency. But they pivoted quickly, potentially landing a more impactful player for their efforts.

New York is sending a future conditional third-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for two-time Pro Bowler Haason Reddick, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

However, Rapoport suggests that Reddick may have been plan B for the Jets in light of Clowney signing with the Panthers.

NFL insider hints at Jadeveon Clowney being Jets’ preferred choice over Haason Reddick

Rapoport notes that the Jets “were in on” Clowney but pivoted to Reddick “once he [Clowney] went to Carolina.” 

For those wondering why New York would prefer Clowney to Reddick despite the latter being the more productive player in recent years, multiple factors weigh into a decision-making process of this nature. 

First, knowing they could have signed Clowney outright and avoided sending valuable draft capital to Philadelphia for Reddick brings added risk to pulling the trigger on a move like this. Moreover, the latter is entering the final season of the three-year, $45 million contract he signed in 2022, meaning he is in the market for a payday from his new team.

Instead, the Jets and Eagles essentially swapped edge rushers this offseason after Bryce Huff signed a three-year, $51 million deal with Philly earlier this offseason.

The optics of the deal could have been a deterrent for the Jets front office after seeing Philadelphia receive a draft pick for Reddick while replacing him with a younger player who they pried away from New York via free agency and was equally as productive despite being in a more limited role.

Whatever the reasoning, it is all water under the bridge now. If the Jets wanted Clowney as much as Rapoport suggests, they would have paid his asking price. But now they have Reddick, who will take down opposing quarterbacks while donning gang green in 2024.