Elijah Moore trade grades for Browns, Jets: Cleveland buys low on talented WR; New York recoups second-rounder

Elijah Moore has himself a new home in the NFL. The New York Jets agreed to trade the third-year wide receiver to the Cleveland Browns, the Browns announced. As for the compensation, New York will receive the No. 42 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft in exchange for Moore while also sending No. 74 overall back to Cleveland. 

The Jets selected Moore in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss, and he seemed to be a pass-catcher the offense could build with following a rookie season that was limited to 11 games due to a quad injury. Despite that, he caught 43 passes for 538 yards and five touchdowns during that rookie campaign. 

However, Moore seemed to fall out of favor with New York during his sophomore season last year and even got to a point where the he requested a trade. That ultimately never came to fruition during the season and Moore ended up playing 66% of the team’s offensive snaps, which was second only behind Garrett Wilson at the recevier position. 

Now, Moore is now off to Cleveland after a free agency period where the Jets built up a crowded wide receiver room as they continue to hammer out a trade to acquire current Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. On top of already having the likes of Wilson and Corey Davis on the roster, the team added Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman in free agency, which made Moore expendable. 

He now heads to a Browns team that had been looking for another wide receiver to pair with Amari Cooper. This is an ideal landing spot for Moore, as he shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle for targets and instead be a highlighted weapon in Cleveland’s passing attack with quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is looking ahead to his first full season with the franchise following last offseason’s blockbuster trade. 

Moore is also under contract for two more seasons and comes at quite the bargain. For 2023, he holds a base salary of just $1.47 million, and that only jumps to $1.8 million during the final year of his rookie deal in 2024. 

Trade grades

Cleveland Browns: A- 

This was a savvy move for a Browns team that needed a secondary receiver opposite of Cooper. Instead of shipping away a first-round pick to acquire Denver’s Jerry Jeudy (a player Cleveland had reportedly been linked to), they buy low on a former second-round pick in Moore, who has shown flashes in his career. And they do that by only moving down one round in this year’s draft. As we noted above, Moore is also extremely cheap over the next few years, so they don’t have to deal with a cumbersome contract either. A low risk, potential high reward trade for Cleveland here. 

New York Jets: B+ 

The Jets’ wide receiver room was getting way too crowded and Moore was clearly the odd man out. So, New York really leaped up a round at the draft by attaching a third-round pick to a player who likely wasn’t in its plans to begin with, which is not too shabby. Of course, there’s inherent risk with the unknown of whoever they’ll take No. 42, so the proven commodity in Moore will give Cleveland the slight edge in this trade. Meanwhile, as a notable quirk to this trade, New York now owns the Nos. 42 and 43 overall picks in the draft his year. 

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