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Free Agency

Top 5 reasons the Jets must acquire Kirk Cousins

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins throws the ball during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins throws the ball during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 17: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins throws the ball during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 17: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins throws the ball during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The  New York Jets are in dire need of a new quarterback as here are the top five reasons why they must acquire Kirk Cousins if he hits the free agency market.

Kirk Cousins is no Tom Brady.  But no quarterback should be held to such standards.  Cousins is a proven NFL gunslinger asking for a market-rate salary, and the New York Jets have the money and the need.

Many of the draft prognosticators seem lukewarm on every QB after Sam Darold and Josh Rosen.  As a forlorn Jets fan, are you confident that your franchise knows the answer?

So, who’s better, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph?  Some top scouts project them as the next Jake Locker, Johnny Manziel, Joey Harrington, and Christian Ponder.

Kirk Cousins commands respect in the huddle, and in the locker room.  He’s a top ten quarterback on the up-side of his career, with a 65.5% career completion percentage, and he’s just the bonafide star to elevate this morbund franchise.  Here’s a five-point argument for the fiscally responsible Jets to spent on the Redskins gunslinger.

LANDOVER, MD – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins looks to pass in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at FedEx Field on December 17, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins looks to pass in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at FedEx Field on December 17, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

5. Pay the Price

In keeping with the astronomical pay hikes for all-star athletes, the current price for a starting NFL QB is in the $25 million range.  That’s what Joe Flacco, David Carr, Matthew Stafford, etc. all earn.

Jimmy Garoppolo now makes $27.5.  But underperforming Blake Bortles will amass $19 million next season.  And don’t forget Ryan Fitzpatrick, the 2016 season’s $15 million dollar man.

After 2017’s impressive play, ancient Josh McCown will collect in the eight-figure range. Figure him to double last year’s $6 million salary.

Cousins is a gutsy leader with an above-average skill set, who dealt well with the instability and insanity of Daniel Snyder’s dysfunctional Redskins.  He would immediately become the best QB this team’s had since Chad Pennington blew out his shoulder in the early 00s.

Next: 4. The Crew

4. The Crew

The Jets roster depth is improving under general manager Mike Maccagnan.  But are you confident about the scouting acumen of a GM who struck out on Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty?

Cousins is a known quantity, capable of taking any franchise to the Super Bowl.  Build him an o-line and get him a few dangerous weapons, and these Jets are an immediate contender.

Maccagnan excels in discovering lesser-known high-octane talent.  But his first three drafts have underwhelmed — of his 20 draftees, 18 are still with the organization; but only 6 play meaningful time.

Potential future offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates is a “quarterback whisperer” who Cousins respects from Mike Shanahan “coaching tree” roots.  If the experts at One Jets Drive do their tape-work, there are a few Day Two gem QBs to draft/develop, like Luke Falk (Washington State), Mike White (Western Kentucky) or Kyle Lauletta (Richmond).

Next: 3. Load & Reload

3. Load & Reload

If the Jets draft a top ten QB, re-sign Josh McCown, and nab a free agent pass rusher or a priority offensive weapon, that’d cost north of $30 million.  Signing Cousins would allow the Jets at pick No. 6 — in a draft with four QBs — to nab a future Pro Bowler like DE Bradley Chubb, LB Terrell Edmunds or even RB Saquon Barkley.

The top 500 players in this draft pool all flash NFL potential.  In the later rounds of this draft, and in post-draft free agency, are oodles of tight ends, cornerbacks, wide receivers and beefy D-linemen — all positions of need for this franchise.

But first comes NFL free agency, with the Jets $100 million war chest.  It makes sense for Trader Mike to sign a star QB — who’d sell seats/merch — and then make meat-and-potatoes moves to fill other glaring holes.  Expect aggressive pursuit of a center like the LA Rams’ John Sullivan (from nearby Greenwich, CT) or Baltimore’s Ryan Jensen as well as a special-teams-savvy receiver like Indianapolis’ Donte Montcrief or Green Bay’s Jeff Janis.

Naysayers point to Cousins’ salary hamstringing the franchise by costing around 15 percent of the Jets salary cap.  But they spent 15 percent of their cap over the past three seasons on some mix of Darrelle Revis and Muhammad Wilkerson.  How did that work out?

Next: 2. Thank You, Muhammad!

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – OCTOBER 29: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson #96 of the New York Jets celebrates a tackle against running back Tevin Coleman #26 (not pictured) of the Atlanta Falcons during the third quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on October 29, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – OCTOBER 29: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson #96 of the New York Jets celebrates a tackle against running back Tevin Coleman #26 (not pictured) of the Atlanta Falcons during the third quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on October 29, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

2. Thank You, Muhammad!  

None of this would have been possible were it not for the charity of Muhammad Wilkerson.  What a giving man, foregoing his $18 million annual salary, to sleep late and miss practices!

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Rex Ryan loved Wilkerson like a son, and can’t believe what’s happened.  Eight sacks over the past two seasons — and untold numbers of plays taken off — prove that the Temple product lacks commitment to his craft, and has no one to blame but himself.

The local star’s dogged legacy will one day be recalled on par with Dewayne Robertson, the fourth overall pick in 2003 NFL Draft.  That mammoth DT bust famously committed more time to tricking-out his wheels than lifting in the weight room.  Sound familiar?

The money saved alone by cutting 2011’s underachieving top selection justifies a Cousins deal.  In effect swapping the QB’s lofty salary for those of Wilkerson, plus whatever uncertain QB combo, seems like a no-brainer moving forward.

Next: 1. Fly Like A Jet

LANDOVER, MD – SEPTEMBER 10: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 after a play against the Philadelphia Eagle in the second quarter at FedExField on September 10, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD – SEPTEMBER 10: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 after a play against the Philadelphia Eagle in the second quarter at FedExField on September 10, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

1. Fly Like A Jet

Cousins’ availability is a bit up in the air, with rumors of the Redskins franchise-tagging him to extract draft picks, now that they have Alex Smith under wraps.  But that’s risky business that could rebound negatively on the DC franchise.

The franchise tag for an NFL QB is $30 million, in line with what the Jets seem willing to pay.  I’m not here to argue that Cousins is worth such mega-dollars.  But by the end of such a five-ish-pact, the move will seem reasonable.

Of course, this all comes down to whether Cousins can stand and deliver.  But rarely does such a young, professional, ascending leader of men hit the market, for a team with enough money to accede to his contract demands — and thus fill a desperate void.

Must Read: Top 30 greatest all-time players to ever play for the Jets

Jets fans take solace:  Nick Foles just led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl stunner, and Cousins is the superior QB.  If the Florham Park front office does its job of replenishing the roster, the former Michigan State Spartan could take Gang Green to the top of the AFC heap — and beyond.

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