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The best way for Jets to address quarterback situation in 2018

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LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins looks on during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at FedExField on November 12, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins looks on during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at FedExField on November 12, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
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There are many ways for the New York Jets to address their quarterback situation heading into the offseason. Here’s the best way to attack it to not only have the Jets be even more competitive next season but also pave the way for their future franchise quarterback.

Another offseason is here for the New York Jets and yes, you guessed it. The quarterback position is and will be the hottest topic all offseason long. The Jets ended the 2017 regular season at 5-11 and with lots of question marks when it comes to the quarterback position.

Will they bring back Josh McCown? Has Bryce Petty played his last game with the Jets? Could they break the bank on a top free agent quarterback? I’m sure other scenarios will pop up over the next few months but before I deep dive into the best way the Jets can address their quarterback situation this offseason, here’s what I’m basing it on.

For argument’s sake, I’m going to assume that McCown won’t be an option to consider in 2018. Either he’ll retire after his best season yet or maybe, just maybe, will come back to the Jets in an assistant coaching role or something of that nature. McCown is a standup kind of guy that has earned the respect of many within the organization for his leadership and ability to be a veteran mentor to those around him.

But, let’s get real here. He had a solid season for the Jets in 2017 but isn’t a franchise quarterback nor the long-term solution they need. The Jets need to bring in high-quality players for the most important position on the team and stop pretending that a 39-year-old quarterback entering next season will replicate similar results or achieve something greater than last season.

I’m also going to assume that the Jets will release either Petty or Christian Hackenberg this offseason. It’s hard to believe the Jets would release both young quarterbacks but Petty would be the odd man out due to his abysmal performance last season and just in general. Nothing against him since he’s a good guy based on interviews and how he handles himself but he’s a terrible quarterback and nowhere near starting material.

Petty has had a plethora of opportunities to prove his worth and be “the guy” for the Jets under center but time and time again, he dropped the ball (both literally and figuratively). It’s best the Jets part ways with him and keep Hackenberg for at least a few more years as a backup.

Due to the Jets making a huge mistake this past season in not playing Hackenberg in any capacity during a losing year to see what he’s capable of, there is still a big question mark for the franchise on what he brings to the table. Can he be further developed to be a starter in this league? Is he such a bust that the leadership regime are afraid to admit they drafted him too high and he’s beyond repairable?

With this uncertainty around Hackenberg, I’ll assume the Jets will keep him and worst case scenario, use him as a third-string backup quarterback. Now, here’s the best way for the Jets to address their quarterback situation that will not only make them competitive this upcoming season but also have a player being developed in the background until their time eventually comes thanks to having a bonafide ready to start and take care of business.

With over $100 million in expected salary cap room, the Jets would be wise to break the bank for one of the top free agent quarterbacks that can serve as a bridge player for the young players around him. That’s right, the obvious answer here would be free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins. Not only does he have the most upside at quarterback in free agency but he’s exactly what is needed for the Jets to have the position accounted for over the next few years but also serve as a veteran mentor for what’s next to come via the 2018 NFL Draft.

At this point in time, the Jets have the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. I’m going to assume besides adding Cousins in free agency, they’ll also add some key pieces to their offensive line. Again, they need to acquire high-quality players all across their offensive line to at least give Cousins the protection and time needed to do what he does best.

The Jets should either trade up to grab one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s class or use their No. 6 overall pick on the best player available at the position. Hopefully, general manager Mike Maccagnan and his scouting crew put in all the necessary hard work, research, and an incredible amount of time to find a quarterback that has the most upside to be a franchise quarterback for at least a decade or so.

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It won’t be easy but whomever the Jets ultimately pick in the first round of this year’s draft can be developed on the sideline until it’s their time to lead this franchise to consistent winning results. Cousins could hold the fort down for at least three, maybe even four years and then pass the torch to a young quarterback that’s been developed, coached, trained, and mentored towards greatness.

When a team like the Jets have yet to figure out what to do at quarterback, it’s always best to have more options than less until that definitive player is established and ready to thrive. They need the right supporting cast around him, of course, but the Jets have the building blocks here and there on the team towards having a complete roster that is capable of competing year in and year out towards the NFL Playoffs and beyond.

Ideally, in my quarterback scenario, 2018 will look something to the nature of Cousins as the Jets starter, Hackenberg as his backup, and a newly drafted top prospect that has all the potential in the world rounding out the depth chart. This would not only excite and give fans something worth watching all season long in 2018 but have the makings to finally address the Jets quarterback situation once and for all. The Jets would have a solid veteran starter that can lead this team to win more football games and two young quarterbacks being developed to hopefully be future franchise quarterbacks.

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