With news breaking on Tuesday night about Alex Smith being traded to the Redskins and immediately signing a 4 year extension, Kirk Cousins is fully expected to be a free agent. This leaves the Jets asking themselves one question: Should we go all in on Cousins or draft a quarterback? Ultimately this million dollar question will shape the Jets for years to come.
The Kirk Cousins Route
The Jets have been missing a good quarterback ever since Joe Namath retired in 1976. This is part of the reason why Cousins tends to look so attractive to them. However, if they go all in and go for Kirk it’s going to come at a heavy price. Under the franchise tag the past two seasons he made $23.9 million this past season and $19.9 million two seasons ago. Kirk will obviously want much more than this.
Spoke with Kirk Cousins this afternoon…told me straight up before we started the interview to "get my guys" to pony up the cash. You want him, @Jets? Go get him.
— Brandon Tierney (@BrandonTierney) January 31, 2018
Some examples of the past top free agent quarterback contracts are Matthew Stafford and his gigantic five-year, $135 million contract with $92 million guaranteed contract. Another quarterback with another big contract is Derek Carr. He signed a deal worth $125 million over five years with $70 million guaranteed. Also the new quarterback in Washington, Alex Smith signed a 4 year extension worth $94 million and a boat load of $71 million guaranteed. The Jets will need to make a deal like one of these in order to sign Kirk Cousins.
That being said, even though they’ll have plenty of money to sign him, the Jets have to be smart and not overpay Cousins. They’re expected to have around $100 million in salary cap space. This still gives them plenty of room left to focus on other positions. A big factor in this is that Cousins is entering the prime of his career and the Jets would could utilize that to their advantage. They are preparing as if it is playoffs or bust next season, and they’ll certainly need an above average quarterback in their prime to make a run. The signing of Kirk Cousins would end the number one problem the Jets have dealt with for many years : The quarterback
Drafting a quarterback
Each year the importance of quarterbacks show. The teams that don’t have a quarterback, they struggle hard and their records show it. The Jets have a chance to get their guy this year in Kirk Cousins. His athletic ability and experience can help them strive for more than mediocrity. However, they also have a chance to draft a future franchise gun-slinger.
Some quarterbacks that might be available for them are Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. All though drafting their future quarterback sounds good and all, there’s a lot of risk involved. If they draft one of them, they could have the potential to be an even better version Cousins. However, it’s a gamble considering the bust factor. Setting the franchise back into the Stone Age is something the Jets do not want to do.
Most GM’s like to take the risk because if the quarterback pick pans out, the team is set for 10+ years. But the Jets can’t mess around anymore and take that risk. General manager Mike Maccagnan has not been good at drafting quarterbacks as well as other key positions. We all know who are the busts. *Cough Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg Cough*
The Jets are ready to make the next step towards playoffs, and a rookie quarterback would not be prepared enough to play in those important games unless he‘s a special talent. Those types of players don’t come around often, especially quarterbacks. If the Jets pass on Kirk Cousins, they’ll need to know that if they draft a quarterback he’ll need to be the dynasty leader of their team or their future is back to being cloudy.
The Jets can finally get their quarterback and that feels really good to say. Even though the price of Kirk Cousins will be expensive, the quarterback question will end. It does sound cool drafting your potential quarterback, who can be great but there’s too much risk involved. The Jets would be smart to go after Cousins.