Jets Superstar Pursuit Could End Promising Draft Pick’s Tenure in NY

During the summer of 2021, New York Jets beat reporters were talking about wide receiver Elijah Moore as if he was a future superstar in the making.

“Elijah Moore does this every day. As promising as I’ve seen a rookie wide-out,” SNY’s Connor Hughes tweeted that June. “Going to be hard to keep Moore off the field,” former New York Daily News reporter DJ Bien-Aime echoed. “Elijah Moore is a budding superstar,” NFL news site uSTADIUM voiced later that year in November.

Now, Moore could be shipped away before year three of his rookie contract — presumably via trade — according to The Athletic’s NYJ beat reporter Zack Rosenblatt. During a March 20 article, Rosenblatt confirmed that “there is some real smoke” around the possibility of former New York Giants superstar Odell Beckham Jr. joining the Jets.

Rosenblatt added that the big-name wideout is “believed to be seriously considering” Gang Green assuming Aaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback, continuing: “It’s unclear, though, how much the Jets are offering — or how much they’re willing to pay to sign him.”

After discussing pros and cons of signing Beckham, Rosenblatt talked about the potential of a wide receiver room including Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, “OBJ,” Moore and 2020 second rounder Denzel Mims. “We saw last year what happens when Moore feels like he’s not getting the ball enough,” he stated. “With Beckham in the fold he’d be, at best, fourth in the wide receiver pecking order. That’s not even factoring in the tight ends (Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah), running backs and if the Jets also sign wide receiver Randall Cobb.”

The beat writer concluded that “if Beckham is in, it might be safe to predict that Moore is on the way out.”

Will Jets WR Elijah Moore Get the Opportunity to Redeem Himself With Aaron Rodgers?

Moore’s training camp and rookie year combined was the hottest starts Jets fans had seen from a wide receiver draft pick since Laveranues Coles and Keyshawn Johnson — no joke. Obviously, that record was smashed by Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson in 2022 but ironically, Wilson actually had a slower summer than Moore the year prior. The first-round talent ended up having a much greater impact during his initial regular season, however.

So, where did it all go wrong? And can Moore recapture that early brilliance with a signal-caller like Rodgers throwing him the football?

Obviously, the major miscalculation by the second-year talent was his trade request due to lack of targets during the 2022 winning streak. Moore is known for his passion on social media, and he no doubt wishes he had that moment back after a lengthy benching and an ugly nosedive in the fan approval department.

A rookie injury also hampered the speedy weapon before that, closing the book on a torrid stretch where he scored six touchdowns in seven games. Moore ended up missing the final five games of the season after that Week 13 setback.

Looking back, Moore’s regression was probably a mix of mental and physical — and his reportedly rocky relationship with former offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur didn’t help him right the ship before it sunk to rock bottom. Having said that, there’s still talent here and with a new QB and OC, who knows what the Moore can accomplish in year three given the opportunity.

Assuming the Ole Miss product is not a necessary trade chip in a Rodgers deal with the Green Bay Packers, the Jets should make every effort to keep him. He’s a dynamic athlete and route-runner that has a cap hit under $3 million the next two seasons. Plus, Moore should be coming into the 2023 campaign with something to prove.

Pros & Cons of an Odell Beckham Signing

As mentioned, Rosenblatt did briefly discuss the pros and cons of going all-in with OBJ at wide receiver.

He wrote: “At this point, you know the pros and cons that come with Beckham. When healthy, he’s an elite receiver — he just hasn’t been healthy in a long time. He hasn’t even played since the 2021 season. But clearly the idea of playing together has piqued both Beckham and Rodgers’ interest. If the Jets are serious about trying to sign Beckham, it would be interesting to see the domino effect in the wide receiver room.”

Building off that, here are some more positives and negatives to weigh between Moore and Beckham — let’s say it truly is one or the other.

Cost: Moore is much more affordable no matter how cheap of a deal Beckham settles for. Just the other day, OBJ tweeted that he would not settle for $4 million a year, and Moore’s cap hit is under $2.5 million in 2023.
Track record: As of now, Beckham has the stronger track record if healthy, although that’s a big if. Still, he’s helped win Super Bowl and has registered five 1,000-yard seasons. Moore has never totaled more than 538 receiving yards in a single season.
Potential: Entering his age-23 campaign, Moore has much more long-term potential than Beckham — who is 30 and coming off multiple ACL surgeries.
Injury history/availability: Edge to Moore, although neither should be considered ultra reliable in this department.
Mental makeup/culture: Beckham has appeared to become a good teammate as he’s gotten older, but his diva days in Cleveland and New York (with the Giants) were similar to Moore’s drama in year two. It’s hard to trust that either has truly changed for the better.
Scheme fit: Nathaniel Hackett typically targets bigger receivers which would be Beckham over Moore, but the Jets could use a natural slot with Braxton Berrios gone — unclear.

Based on all those factors, you be the judge. Is a Beckham signing on a two-to-three year contract worth losing a homegrown prospect in Moore?

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