Quarterback Options Via Free Agency for the Jets by David Dubovy
The New York Jets still need to find their franchise quarterback, something the organization hasn’t had since Joe Namath. Since the Jets surprised everyone with their five-win season and will be picking sixth in this year’s NFL Draft. That means the Jets will most likely be losing out on drafting the top three quarterback prospects in Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Rosen (UCLA) and Josh Allen (Wyoming). Luckily for the Jets, they don’t have to wait until the draft to get their franchise quarterback. There are a handful of options for the Jets: Kirk Cousins, Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor and Josh McCown.
If the Redskins don’t place the franchise tag of almost $35 million this offseason, Kirk Cousins will hit the open market as the most coveted quarterback. Over the past three seasons as the Redskins starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins has thrown for over 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns each season. Reportedly, Cousins is looking for Matthew Stafford type money (5 years, $135 million). At 29 years old, it is a gamble but a gamble the Jets should definitely take. Signing would not only cost more than $135 million for 5 years but also solidify the quarterback position for years to come. A franchise quarterback like Cousins does not hit free agency often.
The next option at quarterback would be Teddy Bridgewater, recovered from a dislocated knee and torn ACL. He missed the entire 2016 season. While healthy enough to play this year, Bridgewater's stuck behind the surprising Case Keenum, who lead the Vikings to the playoffs. Bridgewater had 14 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 2015. If he can still move in and out of the pocket the way he used to, he could be a dynamic threat for a Jets offense that desperately needs playmakers. It’s risky, because no one knows how Bridgewater will return from his injury, but if it works out the Jets could have their quarterback for the next decade.
Tyrod Taylor seems to finally be on his way out of Buffalo and could help the Jets contend in 2018. In 3 seasons as the Bills starting quarterback he’s thrown 8,857 yards, 51 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, and an average passer rating of 92.5. If Tyrod Taylor is cut from the Bills, he would be a less expensive option than Cousins. His mobility could open up a lot of options in the Jets west coast offense. If the Jets don't grab a quarterback in the draft, they should take a long look at Taylor.
Josh McCown who is 39 said he would like to continue playing 2018. There could be a situation where the Jets draft a young quarterback and McCown sticks around to compete for the starting job for one more year and serve as a bridge and mentor. McCown proved that he still has some good football left in him, completing 67.3 percent of his passes, throwing for 18 touchdowns and 2,926 yards (all career highs). If the Jets believe they’ve drafted their quarterback of the future, they could do a lot worse than keeping McCown around to guide him.