Jets trade John Franklin-Myers to Broncos: Sources

Jets trade John Franklin-Myers to Broncos: Sources

By Oghale Apr27,2024

The New York Jets and Denver Broncos like doing business with each other, apparently.

First, the Jets pursued a trade for wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. Monday, they traded quarterback Zach Wilson to Denver.

Saturday, the Jets traded defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers to the Broncos for a 2026 sixth-round  pick, league sources told The Athletic. The move clears some much-needed cap space for the Jets but also removes one of their defensive leaders from the last few years and hurts their depth at defensive end.

But the Jets viewed Franklin-Myers as expendable after trading for Eagles star pass rusher Haason Reddick — a trade that cut into the team’s cap space and left it with barely any room heading into the NFL Draft. Couple that with general manager Joe Douglas drafting defensive ends in the first round in both 2022 (Jermaine Johnson) and 2023 (Will McDonald IV) and the writing was on the wall for Franklin-Myers in New York.

The Jets are tight on cap space — with only $1.9 million according to the NFLPA’s latest report, prior to the Wilson trade — and Franklin-Myers would have been a $16.3 million cap hit in 2024. The Jets save $7.3 million by trading Franklin-Myers while incurring a $9 million dead cap penalty. The Jets already owed $34.5 million in dead cap for players no longer on their roster, not accounting for the $2.75 million they’ll still owe Wilson after trading him to the Broncos. Denver is expected to restructure Franklin-Myers’ deal, as the 27-year-old is owed salaries of $13.3 million in 2024 and $14.35 million in 2025, with $500,000 in roster bonuses due each year as well.

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This locks in Reddick (27 sacks in two years with the Eagles) and Johnson (a Pro Bowler in 2023) as starters at defensive end in 2024, with McDonald expected to take on a much bigger role after barely playing as a rookie (184 defensive snaps, three sacks). The Jets will miss Franklin-Myers both what he brings as a leader and as a versatile defensive lineman, even if he was never a star-level player.

Franklin-Myers was one of the greater success stories of the Douglas era and became one of the key leaders and voices of the locker room as the team has struggled — and a key piece of the team’s elite defense. Douglas claimed Franklin-Myers off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. In 2021, the Jets signed Franklin-Myers to a four-year, $55 million deal. He’s started 50 games over the last three years, accumulating 14 1/2 sacks and 48 QB hits. Franklin-Myers was valued for his versatility, often sliding inside to play defensive tackle on passing downs.

The Jets have hyped up third-year defensive end Micheal Clemons as someone who can provide versatility like Franklin-Myers by occasionally sliding inside, though he actually barely did that in his first two seasons, logging just 65 snaps combined in 2022-23 on the interior.

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