MIAMI -- A look at what's going on around the New York Jets:
1. What might have been: On Sunday, the Jets will encounter one of the players they coveted most in the 2016 draft: guard Laremy Tunsil, who is having a terrific season for the Miami Dolphins. Unfazed by the gas-mask/bong video that surfaced at the start of the draft, the Jets tried to trade up for Tunsil when he started falling. They called the New York Giants (10th pick), offering their second-rounder to move up 10 spots, the New York Daily News reported at the time. The Giants wanted the Jets' fourth-rounder, too.
"Arguably, he could’ve been the first pick in the draft," coach Todd Bowles said this week. "He’s a great football player. He hasn’t shown anything less. He hasn’t disappointed."
Just imagine how things might be different if the Jets had coughed up the fourth-rounder.
No doubt, Tunsil would've been a controversial pick because of the video, but they would've had a stud offensive lineman to help their crumbling line. They already had traded for left tackle Ryan Clady, so they probably would've put Tunsil at right tackle for a season. Without a second-round pick (Christian Hackenberg), they could've addressed the quarterback situation in the third round, where Dak Prescott still was on the board.
Who would you rather have, Tunsil and Prescott or the actual 2016 draft haul of Darron Lee, Hackenberg, Jordan Jenkins (third round) and Juston Burris (fourth)? This isn't second-guessing; just having some fun with hindsight.
Obviously, it's speculative to say the Jets would've drafted Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys' fourth-round golden boy, but that's the beauty of the draft: It's a fascination with what-if.
2. Sheldon on the block: The Jets kept Sheldon Richardson at the trading deadline, but I'll be surprised if they don't deal him before the 2017 draft. In my opinion, they should. He might be the most freakishly gifted player on the roster, but his rising salary (and future contract demands) will make it difficult to keep him.
Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams will count $31.2 million on next year's cap -- one-fifth of the projected number. To improve the roster, which has holes everywhere, the Jets need a better distribution of resources. If they keep Richardson and use the franchise tag in 2018, it could cost north of $17 million. That doesn't make sense, either.
They could sign Richardson to a long-term contract, but that's too risky because of his off-the-field issues (two suspensions). They could let him walk as a free agent after the 2017 season, but they wouldn't get a compensatory pick (probably a third-rounder) until 2019. Why wait? Trade him in the offseason and start repairing the roster.
Because of his baggage and recent production (only five sacks over his past 16 games), Richardson won't fetch a first-round pick, according to league sources. The Jets would do well to get a second-rounder, they said. You hate to unload good players, but sometimes it's good business. Just look at the New England Patriots.
"The suspensions would be an issue for external interest," an AFC personnel executive said. "The combination of that, and the contract you might pay him, may give the buyer a discount. But I could see it being similar to the Jamie Collins situation, where they get what they would've gotten in the compensatory market."
3. Strange, but true: In the six games they've played together, neither Wilkerson nor Richardson has registered a solo sack. Hard to figure, right?
4. Buffalo Bears: The Jets are collecting old Bills (Ryan Fitzpatrick and C.J. Spiller) and old Chicago Bears (Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall) on offense. Who's next? Mark this down: There will be plenty of Jay Cutler rumors in the offseason.
5. Respect from Tebow: I once had a conversation with Tim Tebow about some of the great players he faced in college, and he mentioned Spiller as one of the best athletes he has ever seen. He lamented that Spiller picked Clemson over Florida, especially since Tebow hosted the running back on his recruiting visit.
Fitzpatrick, too, raved about Spiller's athleticism, saying, "If you want to watch an incredible highlight tape, put on his college highlight tape because it’s just unbelievable."
Fitzpatrick played with him in Buffalo, so he saw him up close. He was the quarterback in 2012 when Spiller registered plays of 56, 49 and 66 yards (scoring on the longer two) in two games against the Jets. He and the legendary Billy Cannon are the only running backs to record at least three 40-yard plays from scrimmage against the Jets in the same season, according to Randy Lange of the Jets' official website. Cannon made those plays while playing for the Houston Oilers in 1961.
Alas, Spiller, 29, has slowed down. The book on him is that he'll display some of that old explosiveness for a brief period but will lose it quickly.
6. If the Cubs can do it ... : It took 108 years, but the Chicago Cubs finally won a World Series. The Jets' championship drought is 47 years, which means it will be old enough to join AARP in three years. Maybe the karma is changing for long-suffering franchises.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis said "it would be awesome" to win a Super Bowl with the Jets. "It would be a long time coming for that win, winning a big one. It would make a lot of people happy. [They'd probably] party for the rest of their lives."
Linebacker Mike Catapano, who grew up on Long Island, said, "It would be crazy to be part of something like that. I grew up a Jets fan myself. I know exactly what these fans are feeling. I've got all these people in my ear, asking, 'What's going on?' To get these fans -- my friends, the people I grew up with -- excited again, it would be very, very special."
Bowles can appreciate the fan base's hunger for a championship. He said the goal remains to win a Super Bowl, but "you don't dream it every day." He said it's a process. He's right, but the older fans are tired of hearing that.
7. Fifteen minutes of fame (sort of): The new Dolphins defensive coordinator is Vance Joseph. Longtime Jets fans might remember the name; he was a footnote in one of the worst seasons in team history. In 1995, Rich Kotite called up Joseph from the practice squad and started him at cornerback against the Oakland Raiders on a Monday night. His assignment: Cover the great Tim Brown. It was one of many curious decisions by Kotite. Brown torched Joseph for eight catches, 156 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-10 Oakland victory. Joseph joked about it this week, telling reporters in Miami he's a much better coach than he was a player.
8. Odd stat of the week: The Jets lead the NFL in most rushing yards with four receivers on the field, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In fact, they have the top three individual rushers in that category: Bilal Powell (16 carries for 155 yards), Fitzpatrick (13 for 71) and Forte (15 for 65).