Robert Saleh couldn’t be more clear that the New York Jets are not bending to Elijah Moore’s trade request. The coach stated Friday that the wide receiver will not be traded and won’t play Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
“Trading him is not an option,” Saleh said.
Moore reportedly had a blow-up with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur on Thursday, left the Jets facility and was granted a personal day. The second-round pick in the 2021 draft is frustrated over how he has been used in the Jets' offense this season. Most galling to him was not being targeted a single time in the passing game during a 27-10 win against the Green Bay Packers last week.
Coach Saleh on WR Elijah Moore, who will not play Sunday at Denver. pic.twitter.com/RqQ3x4eF02
— New York Jets (@nyjets) October 21, 2022
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Moore had asked for a trade. Saleh confirmed that Friday, adamantly stating the request will not be considered.
Moore won’t practice Friday nor take part in meetings and will work with the conditioning staff the next three days. He will rejoin the team Monday.
“To ask him to play a football game with where he is from a mental standpoint would be unfair to him, in my opinion,” Saleh explained.
In a twist of irony, Moore will be replaced by third-year wide receiver Denzel Mims, who asked for a trade during the preseason. The Jets considered offers for the 2020 second-round pick but kept him on the 53-man roster. Mims was inactive for the first six games and will make his season debut Sunday.
“He’s prepared to play,” Saleh said of Mims.
Saleh did not say if Mims would replace Moore in the starting lineup alongside receivers Corey Davis and Garrett Wilson. It’s possible Mims would come off the bench and that Jeff Smith could start.
Moore is sixth on the Jets with 16 reception and fifth with 29 targets. This after he caught 43 passes for five touchdowns on 77 targets in 11 games as a rookie last season. Many predicted a breakout season for the receiver, but that hasn’t come to pass, pun intended.
Perhaps most alarming to Moore is that since quarterback Zach Wilson returned from arthroscopic knee surgery, he has only four catches on eight targets in three games. Part of the reason for that is New York leaning on a successful running game the past two weeks.
The optics on Moore asking for a trade are not good, however. The Jets are 4-2 and matched their win total from all of last season. They’ve won three straight and are coming off a spirited road victory at Lambeau Field.
Still, Saleh defended Moore.
Robert Saleh on Elijah Moore:
"He is a very high character individual. I will stand by that young man every day of the week." pic.twitter.com/m8GU0Gz5VI
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) October 21, 2022
It’s an unwanted distraction for a young team that appears to be turning its fortunes around.
The Jets will be facing a desperate Broncos team this week in Denver. The Broncos are 2-4, their offense is struggling and quarterback Russell Wilson is questionable to play because of a hamstring injury.
But now, the Jets have problems of their own to worry about.