Elijah Moore surprised by Jets trade, embracing new opportunity with the Browns, Deshaun Watson

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The New York Jets have been stockpiling talent for the anticipated arrival of quarterback Aaron Rodgers but that left second-year wide receiver Elijah Moore on the outside looking inward. On Wednesday, the franchise agreed to a trade that sent New York’s third-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft and Moore to Cleveland in exchange for a second-round choice. 

Moore was not expecting to be traded despite significant conversation about the possibility in the media.

“No, I did not [expect it]. It was out of nowhere, but I am super excited,” Moore said. “I feel like being here with Deshaun (Watson), (WR Amari Cooper) and just the whole team is a very good mesh. I couldn’t be happier to be here. I feel like it is really going to go well.”  

Shortly after the trade, the wide receiver was in contact with his new quarterback. 

“I spoke to [Watson] yesterday. I am super excited. He is a legit quarterback. He is someone who has been doing some amazing things around the league. He has respect from everybody around the league. They talk really highly about him here, and they believe in him. With him being my quarterback, I believe in him, too. I am grateful to be one of his guys.”  

The Ole Miss product had been taken No. 34 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. In two seasons with the Jets, he accumulated 80 receptions for 984 yards and six touchdowns. Frustrated by his role last season, Moore requested a trade from the organization but the team was not willing to oblige. 

Despite the criticism he may have incurred, the 22-year-old says that he has no regrets about how that situation played out. 

“I wouldn’t do anything over. I am in a space right now where I feel like everything happens for a reason always,” Moore said. “I take it with a grain of salt. If something is happening in my life, I am going to take what I can from it, I am going to capture it and I am going to move forward. We all made mistakes, and everyone in life have not been perfect. As long as you learning from them, keep going and try to be a good person, I feel like that is all that matters.”  

If a similar situation were to occur in Cleveland, the wide receiver did not necessarily say he would do it differently.

“I can’t predict the future, but I am going to put my best foot forward. I feel like I am here for a reason so whatever happens, I am going to be ready for it,” Moore said. “People go through things, and you have to learn from it. I feel like I am the type of person that learns from my mistakes. We are all human. I am just going to try to do what I felt like I could have done better last year in whatever position I am going to be in now.”  

Moore steps into the Browns‘ wide receiver room, which also features Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. He lined up in the slot on 41.3% of pass plays over the past two years. Head coach Kevin Stefanski should be able to find creative manners in which to deploy his versatile pass-catching weapons.

Cleveland, which finished with a 7-10 record last season, is without a draft selection in the first two rounds. The Jets are slated to travel to northeast Ohio during the upcoming season.