The NFL Offseason has now kicked off with the NFL Combine in full swing. There are now an abundance of stories regarding Free Agents and prospects in the draft connected to every team in the NFL. Arguably the biggest story that came out yesterday was that Kirk Cousins is likely to sign with the Minnesota Vikings.
That story has huge effects on the other three teams expected to be the biggest suitors for his talents. Those teams that are expected to miss out on Cousins if he signs with the Vikings are the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and the New York Jets.
All three teams now have to be ready to pivot to their plan B if the reports on Cousins are, in fact, true. The question for the Jets is, what is plan B?
The Jets have the 6th overall pick in this years NFL Draft and there still are a good amount of veteran Quarterbacks available in Free Agency, but none of them are at the talent level of Kirk Cousins.
Should the Jets take a Quarterback with their 6th pick in the draft?
Or should they take a shot on one of the younger Quarterbacks that will be available in Free Agency that will not cost too much money?
The answer is APPARENT as I outlined in my last article The Jets have not been able to draft and develop Quarterbacks EVER. Obviously, Kirk Cousins makes the most sense if you are going to sign a veteran QB which is why he is plan A for four teams looking for a signal caller this offseason.
In this scenario, we are going to say that Kirk is off the market and the Jets brass realize they are better off signing a veteran QB, but who is that Quarterback going to be? The top QB’s hitting the market include Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, AJ McCarron, Jay Cutler, and Josh McCown.
There are a few other guys that can be considered starting Quarterbacks but this is the cream of the crop in my opinion and on this list, there are only 2-3 guys the Jets should even consider. The guys I think the Jets should be looking at with the most interest are McCarron, Bridgewater, and McCown in that order with the other guys being afterthoughts.
Now let’s look at these guys individually and see why I put them in that order.
McCarron has been the backup QB to Andy Dalton in Cincinnati since he was drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He has not seen too much time on the field since then but he has spent the past four seasons learning from Dalton who is a perennial Pro Bowl QB and one of the best QBs in the game.
As I said before McCarron hasn’t spent much time on the field with the Bengals but he did start three regular season games down the stretch in 2015 along with a post-season start and playing the majority of the game in which Dalton went down allowing him to get on the field.
In those 4 regular season games, AJ was impressive. He completed 66.4% of his passes, threw for 854 yards, had 6 TD passes, and only 2 interceptions with a 2-1 QB record in the games he started.
It is a small sample size but he proved he can run an offense and he is only 27, the Jets could get him on a 3-year deal for 10-15 million dollars per year which would allow them to have a lot of money to spend in other areas to improve the team around him.
The guy can play, he just hasn’t gotten the opportunity to show it the past few years. He should be the Jets plan B without a doubt.
Teddy Bridgewater is a former 1st-round draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings who has missed the last two years due to a devasting knee injury in which he suffered a torn ACL, a dislocated knee, and other structural damage.
Before that injury, Bridgewater had proved to be a solid QB that was improving rapidly. In his rookie year, he started 12 games, went 6-6, completed 64.4% of his passes, threw 2919 yards, 14 TD passes and 12 interceptions. In 2015 he went 11-5, completed 65.3% of his passes, threw 3231 yards, 14 TD passes, and only 9 interceptions.
He has not started a game since 2015 because of that knee injury I mentioned earlier and the Vikings have decided that he is not worth keeping for whatever reason. Bridgewater is only 25 and has proven he can play when healthy.
However, the team that knows him best, the Vikings don’t think he is worth keeping so that in itself says a lot. I truly think he can be a legitimate starter in the NFL and he proved that in 2015 when he helped his team get to the playoffs and they would have won their playoff game if not for Blair Walsh’s infamous miss to end the game.
The only worry I have with Bridgewater is his knee, we saw how that injury can derail a players career with RGIII who was more talented and whose injury was not as severe as Bridgewater’s.
If the Jets were to sign him I think they would feel just as good as they would with McCarron, but I think he should be plan C.
The veteran McCown had a surprise season with the Jets last year and if he was as young as McCarron or Bridgewater he would probably be the first guy on my list of plan B options. Unfortunately, McCown is 38 and will be 39 next season.
Yes, the Jets will not be legitimate Super Bowl contenders next season so signing McCown will allow them to use their 90+ million dollars of cap space to bring in the players they need for the long term and they can address the QB situation next offseason. McCown will only command 3-5 million dollars making that thought process feasible.
In reality, McCown could start again for the Jets but next season and they can wait to address the QB situation, or they could draft one of the four top Quarterbacks and have that guy learn from the veteran McCown for the season.
To me, if the Jets resign McCown to be the starter they have to draft one of the Quarterbacks which I think would be a waste of a pick that can be better utilized on a RB, OL, CB, or an edge rusher. This should be their plan D and worst case scenario.
Whatever way the Jets decide to handle their QB issue will lead to a huge trickle down effect as to how the rest of their offseason will play out. One thing is for sure, the Jets have an important few months ahead of them regarding the future of their franchise.