The New York Jets have a need at the quarterback position for next season and the future. The current depth chart consists of Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Petty has proven that he is not even a reliable backup NFL quarterback, and Hackenberg hasn’t even stepped onto the field yet. Josh McCown is a free agent, and it is definitely not out of the question that they bring him back. However, at 38 years old, the Jets should likely move on from him, or try to bring him back as the QB coach. The Jets will likely add at least two new quarterbacks this offseason, likely including one from free agency. Here are some of their options if they go this course.
Kirk Cousins has been franchise tagged by the Washington Redskins two times already by the Redskins. While it is not a lock that he hits the market, there is a very large possibility that he does. Cousins is a bona fide top 12 starter in the NFL, and would likely make the Jets a legitimate playoff contender. He will cost around $30 Million per year, however, he is worth that for the Jets. QB is a whole the Jets have had for a very long time, and filling it with an above average player would do wonders for the team. With the sixth pick, if the Jets do not trade up, it is legitimately possible that there are three or four QBs already off the board, making going after Cousins a higher priority.
Safer Bridge Options:
Bradford has had his share of struggles and injuries throughout his career, but he is still a good option when he is healthy. He is not a quarterback that is going to win you games week in and week out, but he will always give you a shot. On the right contract, Sam Bradford could be a good bridge option for the Jets if they don’t get Cousins. Additionally, depending on the contract he signs, acquiring Bradford would not stop the Jets from selecting a QB with the sixth overall pick.
If he is released, Tyrod Taylor would be a good target for the Jets. Many Bills fans have long hated on Tyrod Taylor, however, he is an average NFL quarterback. Taylor protects the ball well, throws a great deep ball, and also adds to the running game. Taylor will never be an elite quarterback, but he can take. team to the playoffs, as he showed this year with the Bills. Taylor would be a solid option for a year or two, while a quarterback develops behind him, or is drafting next year.
Case Keenum took over the starting quarterback job for the Minnesota Vikings after Sam Bradford went down with an injury. Keenum is an undersized quarterback, with a pretty good arm, who has excelled at every level. He has been overlooked, mostly because of his size, but was very good this year. Heading into the NFC Championship game, Keenum looked like a lock to be franchise tagged by the Vikings. Following the dud he dropped against the Eagles, that may change. If Keenum hits the market, he would be a very interesting player for the Jets to bring in. He is not a lock to be a constantly good quarterback in the NFL, however, this season he proved that he has the ability. Keenum could be the next late-round pick to become a top 12 QB if he keeps up his play from this year. Signing Keenum to a two-year deal would be a very good move if the Jets miss out on Cousins.
Drew Brees is almost a lock to stay with the Saints, but if he decides to move on, the Jets should at least see if he would be interested in wearing green and white for a year or two. Even if they select at QB at six, sitting him behind Drew Brees for a year or two can only help with development. Drew Brees is still a superstar at 39 years old, even following a down year statistically.
Risky Bridge Options:
The third Vikings QB on this list is the riskiest of them all. Teddy Bridgewater missed basically two full years coming off a torn ACL in training camp prior to last season. Bridgewater was a promising young quarterback, who seemed to be improving. His NFL statistics have been far from spectacular, but he is an intriguing player nonetheless. Bridgewater was a first-round pick, and seems like a really good player to have in the locker room. If they Jets miss out on some of the true bridge options, Bridgewater is a player that has the potential to be a franchise QB, however, has a lot of question marks he’ll have to overcome. He had a good completion percentage and touchdown-interception ratio, which are good signs for him going forward.
McCarron looked very solid in his only real NFL playing time in 2015 when Andy Dalton went down with an injury. He is a restricted free agent, and a player that the Browns seem to covet. He is not a likely option for the Jets, however, if they miss out on all the other free agent options, they may take a swing on a younger player, like McCarron, to battle with a rookie they select.
Unlikely to hit the market:
If Alex Smith is released, he is a player the Jets should strongly considering signing. The more likely scenario is that Smith is traded for a second or third round pick, which the Jets should not do. He is a limited quarterback, and is 33 years old. Smith is a very good bridge option, and would be great to mentor a young QB, however, it is not worth giving up such valuable draft capital for him.
The Jaguars suffered a rough AFC Championship game loss to the New England Patriots. Bortles player pretty well in the game, and did help get them there. It would be a surprise if the Jaguars cut him, but it is not fully out of the question. Bortles is owed $19 Million if he is on the team next season, so if the Jaguars decide to go get a veteran like Eli Manning or Alex Smith, they may cut ties with the former first-round pick. Bortles would be an interesting option for the Jets. He has had a very up and down career so far, however, he has shown some promise and would be a solid guy to take a risk on if they miss out on Kirk Cousins.
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