New York Jets: Early examination of potential Kirk Cousins signing

CHICAGO, IL- DECEMBER 13: Kirk Cousins
CHICAGO, IL- DECEMBER 13: Kirk Cousins /

Should the New York Jets consider signing Kirk Cousins in 2018?

Another year, another discussion about where the New York Jets are going to find a quarterback. For those of us who remember records, this is one of the longest broken ones mankind has ever seen. The Jets have tried valiantly but have never been able to find that guy who could take them where only one man (Joe Namath) has gone before. To say it has been a long road would be an understatement.

This year, it’s between Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. The resounding opinion is that Hackenberg will see the field at some point so the team can finally determine what they have in him. McCown will likely be the starter in Week 1 and it will just be a matter of time before last year’s second-round pick takes over.

Most of the “experts” believe that the Jets will have the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft. Therefore, the Jets will have the ability to take any of the quarterbacks in a rich class. But what if the guy they want isn’t there? The highly-touted Sam Darnold has already warned that teams shouldn’t tank in order to draft him. He may stay in school. It is also possible that the Jets won’t be No. 1, and be out of range for the quarterback they want. Then what?

We have all seen the Kirk Cousins saga with the Redskins, mainly because it was played out in public. Cousins will be the first quarterback to play consecutive seasons under the franchise tag.

The Redskins made it uglier by making this statement public from team president Bruce Allen:

To Cousins’ credit, he has said the following publicly:

Cousins must be lauded for showing public loyalty here. Instead of furthering the controversy, he says the right things to keep the team together. However, he can’t be happy about how this was handled. It’s just not human nature. He will be a free agent at the end of the year, and if the offers start rolling in, it’s hard to believe he wouldn’t at least give leaving some consideration.

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Whenever discussion of a quarterback comes up, the Jets are right in the middle of it. So, this is a talented young quarterback. Should he be the next quarterback of the Jets? We have a year, so let’s begin the discussion now.

There is no question that Cousins would be the best quarterback the team is brought around in quite some time. His completion rate has been over 60 percent in each of the last three seasons, including a league-leading 69.8 percent in 2015. He earned his first Pro Bowl appearance last season. Cousins has thrown a fair amount of interceptions (42), but when you add in his touchdowns (72), the ratio actually looks pretty good.

In two years as the full-time starter, however, Cousins hasn’t led his team to a record better than 9-7. It’s not as if he didn’t have the weapons, with the likes of DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed running pass routes for him. His career record is 19-21-1. It’s not exactly a number that jumps off of the page and screams “winner”. Maybe, to play devil’s advocate, he is limited in his ability to lead. If he is, the Jets have certainly been there and done that many times in the past.

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Make no mistake; the Jets will be able to afford him next year. Before we even learn the cap number, we know that the Jets will have $80 million in carry over cap money. The Jets will have the money, and it will take a lot of money to bring Cousins in. If we take the above offer from the Redskins at face value, Cousins turned down $53 million at signing. That would mean the Jets would likely have to beat that to bring him in. At what point does a quarterback become too cost prohibitive? They will have other players to sign. Guys like Leonard Williams and eventually Jamal Adams are going to want to get paid.

The major point that we can make now is that bringing in Cousins will be an all-or-nothing play. With the amount of money he will demand, there will be no turning back. Either this will work out, or the team will be set back for a long time. What does that mean? It means that if Mike Maccagnan decides to do this, he had better be sure. He must be certain that this player is the best quarterback he can bring in or he should stay away.

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It will come down to 2018. Do the Jets have a winner in Christian Hackenberg? How about Bryce Petty? And finally, do they believe they can draft somebody better in the 2018 draft? It’s a lot to consider, but something worth beginning the thought process on.