Should the New York Jets Trade for Trevor Siemian?

The New York Jets badly need to upgrade at quarterback, but is trading for the Denver Broncos' Trevor Siemian really the answer?

One year ago, Trevor Siemian was caught in limbo behind Brock Osweiler and Mark Sanchez on the Denver Broncos' depth chart following the retirement of Peyton Manning. He had played only one snap -- a kneel down -- in his rookie season after the Broncos selected him in the seventh round.

Now, he's a pivotal part of the league's quarterbacking landscape.

Even in the middle of March, the NFL is providing us daily doses of deliciousness.

The New York Jets obviously need a quarterback with both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith as free agents, and this year's draft class doesn't seem to be overflowing with talent. But does that actually mean that Siemian is the answer?

Let's try to figure this out using numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP), the metric we use to measure the efficiency of both teams and players with the team totals being adjusted for strength of schedule. For Siemian, we'll be checking out his Passing NEP, which shows expected points added on completions while also deducting for events such as incompletions, interceptions, and sacks.

What do the advanced analytics say about Siemian, and do they indicate he could be the quarterback to turn the Jets around? Let's check it out.

A Mediocre First Season

Siemian had his highs and his lows during 2016 with the Broncos, but for the most part, he was simply an average passer.

On 517 drop backs, Siemian finished 26th in Passing NEP per drop back out of the 39 quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs. This certainly isn't great, but it's ahead of guys like Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, and Blake Bortles, all of whom will certainly be starters in 2017. And it was a lot better than what the Jets got from their signal callers.

Here's a comparison between Siemian and the three-headed dumpster fire the Jets rolled out at quarterback. Success Rate is the percentage of drop backs that lead to an increase in expected points for the drive.

In 2016 Drop Backs Passing NEP Passing NEP per Drop Back Success Rate
Trevor Siemian 517 29.79 0.06 45.84%
Jets' Quarterbacks 586 -27.66 -0.05 41.81%

The only Jets quarterback who had a positive Passing NEP for the season was Smith, and that was on 17 drop backs. Siemian would clearly be an upgrade, but so would most quarterbacks with a functioning right arm.

A quick rebuttal to any analysis here would be that Siemian had Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders while the Jets were missing Eric Decker for most of the year. As such, it's probably better to compare Siemian to his own teammates, but he winds up looking fine there, too.

Paxton Lynch had only 92 drop backs this year, so it's hard to draw too much from his analytics. However, in that time, it did seem as if Siemian had a slight edge.

In 2016 Drop Backs Passing NEP Passing NEP per Drop Back Success Rate
Trevor Siemian 517 29.79 0.06 45.84%
Paxton Lynch 92 1.55 0.02 44.57%

To expand the sample a bit, let's dig back into 2015 to see how Manning and Osweiler did when they also had these two solid receivers. And once again, Siemian doesn't look too shabby.

Last Two Seasons Drop Backs Passing NEP Passing NEP per Drop Back Success Rate
Trevor Siemian 517 29.79 0.06 45.84%
Other Broncos 737 16.44 0.02 45.18%

We know that Manning struggled big time in 2015, but these are three separate quarterbacks baked into one, and Siemian's advanced metrics were better than all of them. He may not be a superstar, but he really doesn't seem to be that bad.

It's always dangerous to draw conclusions about a player after just one year as a starter. But it does seem pretty clear that Siemian would be an upgrade for the Jets. The question then comes down to compensation in assessing whether this would be a good move.

A Difficult Situation

The Jets only have seven picks in the upcoming draft, none of which are in the fourth round. And given all the cuts they've made this offseason, they have a ton of needs to address. Is spending picks on Siemian worth the opportunity cost?

Most of this depends on what the Jets' plan for the draft would be without Siemian. If they were planning on taking a quarterback, anyway, then it may not be a terrible idea to move a reasonable pick to snag him. This year's class is brimming with statistical red flags, and Siemian has at least shown he can be a competent NFL passer. He likely has an edge on them.

Because he was a seventh-round pick, Siemian's contract is fully affordable. He will earn $615,000 in 2017, according to Spotrac, and he has another year on his rookie deal after that. Compared to what free agents are getting on the open market, that's peanuts. It could drive his cost up via trade, but this isn't a move that would hurt the Jets financially.

It would be a risk to acquire Siemian. The Jets have a ton of needs to address, and trading for him would lower their ability to upgrade elsewhere. But quarterback is also a position of need, and Siemian's metrics are better than those of anybody on their roster.

It's pretty clear that Siemian's not a superstar, and the Jets should not assess him as such in trade negotiations. At the same time, he's a low-cost quarterback who outperformed both his teammates and the players on the Jets' roster last year. This likely isn't a guy who can turn a franchise around, but if the Jets want to make a move to address the position, they could certainly do worse than Siemian.