Following their blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins today, the New York Jets traded defensive tackle, Steve McLendon, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a 6th round pick in 2022. Additionally, the Buccaneers now have Gang Green’s 2023 7th rounder. He will be reunited with former Jets head coach and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
Just days after releasing former All-Pro runningback Le’Veon Bell, the Jets ship off nose tackle and veteran Steve McLendon. McLendon had been a part of the Jets defense since 2016. In his stint with the Jets, he totaled 7.5 total sacks and was seen to be a locker room leader. The former Pittsburgh Steeler has been in the league since 2009 and has 12.5 career sacks.
McLendon’s NFL Future
Even though Steve McLendon was a vital part of some of the Jets solid defenses recently, his role in Tampa Bay could be stronger. Recently, Buccanneers’ defensive tackle Vita Vea suffered fractures to his right leg and ankle. Retirement could be coming soon as McLendon is 34 years old.
However, he may enjoy a trip to the playoffs, which was something he never experienced in the green and white. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently 4-2 and are in possession of 1st place in the NFC South. This is their first season with Tom Brady at quarterback.
Which Jet replaces Steve McLendon?
Currently, the Jets starter at nose tackle is Folorunso Fatukasi, who showed flashes of brilliance in 2019, but hasn’t been great in 2020, as he has 0 sacks thus far.
Second-year hopeful and former 3rd overall pick Quinnen Willams has also spent time at defensive tackle but has not lived up to the high expectations that were set for him. Gang Green is headed for a full rebuild and may look to trade Willams.
John Franklin-Myers has been a lone bright spot on the Jets defense in 2020, as he was not expected to have a big role. Franklin-Myers has one sack so far in 2020. The DT position is a position the Jets might look to improve on this offseason.