Browns pick up speed, land WR Moore from Jets, trade draft picks
CLEVELAND (AP) — Elijah Moore wanted to leave New York. The Browns wanted speed.
Both got their wish.
Cleveland added another offensive playmaker and target for quarterback Deshaun Watson on Wednesday, acquiring Moore in a trade with the Jets, who overhauled their receiving squad this offseason — possibly before the quarterback arrived — back Aaron Rodgers.
The Browns have agreed to send the No. 42 pick in this year’s draft to the Jets for Moore and the No. 74 pick. Completion of the deal is pending a physical.
The Jets are parting ways with Moore, a 2021 second-round pick, shortly after agreeing to terms with former Kansas City wide receiver Mecole Hardman on a one-year contract, according to a person with knowledge of the contract.
New York will have picks No. 42 and 43 — as well as No. 13 overall. Earlier in free agency, the Jets signed former Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard and worked toward a possible deal for Rodgers.
Cleveland made its main quarterback move last year, sending three first-round picks to Houston for Watson in a controversial trade. Now they’re adding a downside threat for Watson in Moore, who can play in the slot, backfield or line up on the outside. He will complement receivers Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
The Browns lacked a player who could stretch defenses after Anthony Schwartz, a 2021 third-round pick, struggled with falls and his confidence.
Cleveland explored the free agent market and other trades, including one for Denver wide receiver Jerry Jeudy before making the deal with the Jets.
While Moore, who turns 23 next week, hasn’t put on big numbers, he’s quick and versatile and gives Cleveland’s offense another wrinkle to support Watson and his solid running game.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Moore had 37 catches for 446 yards and a touchdown last season but was unhappy with his role and asked for a trade. He became disgruntled due to a lack of pass-catching opportunities and demanded to be dealt with in October.
After the Jets’ 27-10 win at Green Bay in Week 6, Moore tweeted a reporter’s Twitter post that pointed out he had no official receiving targets. In a series of since-deleted tweets, Moore posted that if he said what he really wanted it would be considered selfish, but added, “Just know I don’t get it either.”
Things took a turn when he allegedly had a disagreement with then offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur the following week and was held out of practice for two days to clear his head – but then asked to be dealt with by the Jets .
Moore didn’t travel with the team to Denver for their Week 7 win. He returned to practice the following week, but didn’t catch the next two games and was only targeted once. one time.
Coach Robert Saleh insisted Moore wouldn’t be traded and was a big part of what the Jets wanted to do on offense last season and going forward. But Moore’s production the rest of the season was minimal, catching more than two assists just twice in the next eight games.
Five months after asking to be treated, Moore is getting a fresh start in Cleveland.
Moore played college ball at Mississippi. He had 43 catches for 538 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, but his production plummeted in 2022 in part because the Jets didn’t have a good quarterback game with the arrival of wide receiver Garrett Wilson, the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
AP Pro Football Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. contributed.
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