NFL Draft rumors: Jets, Bills interested in trading back into 1st round

Al Messerschmidt

Could Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel be the hot target in the bottom of the first round of the NFL Draft?

The Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets are attempting to trade back into the late portion of the first round, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. There's a reason for that strategy: Quarterbacks taken in the round receive five-year deals, while second rounders are signed for just four. Getting that extra year of a contract is crucial, particularly at the end of the first round when the contracts are a bit more of a bargain variety.

Who could each team be targeting?

Buffalo: With Ryan Fitzpatrick released, Tarvaris Jackson signed to a smaller contract, and Aaron Corp the only other quarterback on the roster, Buffalo could use some added depth at the position. If the Bills were to take a quarterback, new head coach Doug Marrone reportedly would want Florida State's E.J. Manuel, because of his physical talent and ability to run the read option. Manuel might not be as ready to run an NFL offense, but his upside could fit better in a frigid Buffalo winter.

Cleveland: With the Browns trading Colt McCoy to the San Francisco 49ers, they have Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell fighting for the starting spot. Rumors that Cleveland was targeting New England backup Ryan Mallett proved to be unfounded, so it could well be Manuel who the Browns want. Dawgs By Nature agrees: if the Browns do try to trade down, Manuel is the target.

N.Y. Jets: The Jets could use another quarterback to throw into its crowded and unimpressive rotation. Unfortunately, the lack of quarterback depth in this class means trading down might make more sense.

Atlanta and New York have been doing a lot of talking, presumably so the Jets can make that move down. The Falcons do have the 30th pick but might have to give up a 2014 first rounder or a late second rounder. However, there are no quarterback rumors linked to the Jets yet, with Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro the only name mentioned if a trade occurs.

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