We’re almost there football fans. In what feels like the longest month since the Eagles defeated the Patriots on Super Bowl Sunday, we sit just one week away from when teams can enter into negotiations with potential free agent signings. For Jets fans, this should be an exciting time period with a plethora of cash to spend on high priced players. New York is projected to be nearly $90 million under the salary cap when free agency kicks off on March 12.
No matter who General Manager Mike Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles bring in at various positions it will ultimately come down to one decision, the quarterback, which has plagued Gang Green for decades on end. It’s no secret the Jets will be all over Kirk Cousins when free agency begins and he should be our top priority, but it’s no lock we land him. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report stated Monday that Cousins is deciding between the Jets and Vikings, but expects Kirk to don the green and white next season.
If that plan happens to fall through, here are the other options the Jets brass needs to consider to save their jobs.
Option A: Hand Kirk Cousins a Blank Check
Why it Makes Sense: On the night of the Alex Smith deal Cousins to NY became a legit possibility and I wrote in-depth about why the Jets need to sign Kirk Cousins. The shortened version is basically how great would it be to go into the next four years and not have to worry about the quarterback position. That feels orgasmic just thinking about it.
Why it Won’t Work: Some Jets fans are hesitant to park the Brinks truck and delegate a boatload of cash and cap space to the 29-year-old. Making the 12th best quarterback in the league the highest paid player in the NFL may not add up to building a championship roster. Should we just attack the draft instead and get “our guy?”
Option B: Draft One in the First Round (Allen, Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield)
Why it Makes Sense: Coming into the 2017 season this had to be their plan A when deconstructing the roster and looking toward the future with an influx of youth. But of course, when you’re the Jets you can’t even tank right. Sitting at #6 makes this a tricky proposition, as we would probably need to strike a deal to move up and nab our QB of choice. It would make sense to draft our own guy and let him grow with a young roster and keep cap flexibility, allowing us to address several needs through free agency.
Why it Won’t Work: Staying at pick #6 could spell disaster for the Jets as there remains a strong possibility that all four quarterbacks are snagged before NYJ is on the clock. The Browns, Giants, and Broncos may all select a new signal caller and don’t rule out a team like the Bills or Cardinals aggressively moving up to supplant the Jets. Also, do you have any faith in this franchise to actually develop a quarterback? I surely don’t after seeing the development or lack thereof from Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.
Option C: Sign Teddy Bridgewater and Draft a QB
Why it Makes Sense: If Teddy B gets a clean bill of health he should be high in demand come next week. At only 25-years-old Bridgewater deserves another shot to get this right. His numbers weren’t spectacular but in 28 starts from age 22 to 23 he went 17-11. His contract would come cheap and probably be heavily incentive-based. Definitely worth a roll of the dice for the Jets if they strike out on Cousins.
Why it Won’t Work: There’s a chance Bridgewater isn’t the same quarterback he was prior to the devastating knee injury. It’s also been nearly three years since he’s started a game.
Option D: Sign Tyrod Taylor if Cut by the Bills
Why it Makes Sense: I’m personally a fan of Tyrod and his ability to take care of the football and throw the deep ball, as well as his running tendencies. The Bills did Taylor dirty when benching him for Peterman, but what do you expect it’s the fucking Buffalo Bills. He also ended their 18-year playoff drought with a lack of surrounding weapons on the outside and THEY STILL WANT TO CUT HIM. The Jets could definitely do worse than Tyrod and he’s only 28. T-Mobile also has the No. 1 suit game in the league.
Why it Won’t Work: Tyrod probably isn’t a franchise guy and signing him as a stop-gap just delays the inevitability of still searching for the QB of the future with Taylor on the roster. In a passing league, he just doesn’t make enough plays in the air to win the big game.
Option E: Sign A.J. McCarron Away From the Bengals (Restricted FA)
(Whenever I hear A.J. McCarron’s name I think of this video. Miss you Brent)
Why it Makes Sense: McCarron has the pedigree and definitely looks the part to be worth a roll of the dice for the Jets if they miss out on the big names. I’m not sure how much money A.J. would command, but some in the league believe he could be a starter if given his fair shot, after sitting behind Dalton the last four seasons.
Why it Won’t Work: He’s only started 4 games in his career and didn’t blow anyone away with his talent to the point you’d want to make a large financial investment on his behalf. Stuff like this also never ends up working out for the Jets.
Option F: Sign Stop Gap Veteran – Josh McCown, Mike Glennon, Sam Bradford
Why it Makes Sense: This situation means the Jets struck out largely in the QB market in March and chose to be prudent with their FA money. Bringing back McCown and drafting a quarterback wouldn’t be the worst move by the Jets and really puts them in position to make an aggressive play come draft time.
Why it Won’t Work: See the rest of these guys’ careers? Yeah, that’s not going to get better donning the green and white.
Be on the lookout for my official New York Jets free agency preview article next week as I break down who Gang Green should be interested in around the league.