New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick traded with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft to screw up the New York Jets, according to the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora.
One anonymous NFL general manager believes the Steelers should’ve needed to trade a third-round pick — not the fourth-round selection that they gave up — to move from No. 17 to No. 14 in the 2023 NFL Draft.
“They should have had to give up a [third-round pick] and not a four to move up there,” said the general manager, who had been keeping tabs on a potential trade up with the Patriots. “Belichick did it just to f— the Jets. He sold low because he knew the Steelers were going to take the kid the Jets wanted to take.”
The general manager isn’t the only person who believes that Belichick was looking to hurt the Jets.
After finishing in last place in the AFC East last season, the Jets have become a threat to the Patriots and the rest of the division after trading for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
In that deal, New York moved the No. 13 pick in the draft to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for the No. 15 selection. That move ended up costing the Jets their chances at drafting offensive tackle Broderick Jones.
Pittsburgh nabbed Jones with the No. 14 pick since the team needed help on the offensive line. New York ended up taking edge rusher Will McDonald IV with the No. 15 pick.
The Jets dealt with a lot of injuries to their offensive line last season, including former first-round pick Mekhi Becton, who suffered a season-ending injury in August. An offensive tackle, Becton has been impossible for the Jets to rely on in recent seasons.
The team could have drafted Jones as a potential starter at the position to protect its newly acquired quarterback. Prior to the Steelers taking Jones, there had been three other offensive tackles drafted.
The Arizona Cardinals selected Paris Johnson Jr. at No. 6, which was followed by the Chicago Bears selecting Darnell Wright at No. 10. The Tennessee Titans picked Peter Skoronski a pick later at No. 11.
Belichick clearly didn’t want to make his divisional rival any better, so he seems to have traded away the No. 14 pick to stop the Jets from improving on a weakness.
What may be lost in all of this is that Belichick still ended up with an elite corner in Christian Gonzalez with the No. 17 pick.
Even with the NFL regular season still months away, the rivalry between Belichick and the Jets continues to heat up.
“Bill will try to screw them over any chances he gets,” a personnel executive from a team also picking around the middle of the first round said. “He knew exactly what he was doing.”