The Redskins recently acquisition of Alex Smith opened the door for Cousins to have a big pay deal and become available to as many as seven other teams in free agency for a salary in the neighborhood of $27 million.
The Jets should quickly end the pursuit. Sign Cousins in his prime. Barring injury, he can give them at least four or five productive years.
Cousins will be 30 just before the start of next season and has thrown for more than 16,000 yards in his six-year career. He threw for more than 4,000 yards last season with 27 touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 93.9. Over the past three years, Cousins has topped the 4,000-yard and 25-yard touchdown mark each season.
Pretty good. Pretty steady. Looks like a perfect fit for the Jets.
The Jets proved last season that they are a team not in a total rebuilding mode. Instead, they are a team on the rise that could easily have been 10-6 instead of 5-11. Losses to Oakland, Miami, New England, Tampa Bay, and San Diego, and all or some of them easily could have transformed into victories.
Getting Cousins and some other veterans to fil some holes this season quickly can take them into playoff contenders.
Cousins has the targets in Jermaine Kearse, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Robby Anderson –barring a potential team suspension for his off-the-field antics – and Quincy Enunwa, coming back from missing the entire season.
Bilal Powell is a viable choice out of the backfield, and rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hanson matured during the season.
Cousins appreciates a solid running game, and the Jets will need to improve in that area.
They do have cash to shop for a back, but Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell – the ideal solution – looks like he will be a longshot. Bell wants to stay in Pittsburgh for big money or he likely will retire.
The Jets need a steady complement to Powell. Maybe it could be Eli McGuire, but they should get some veteran insurance.
Signing Cousins gives the Jets the flexibility to use their number six pick on a lineman or defensive back, both needs, or even draft a quarterback for the future. They could avoid the young quarterback for now and resign Josh McCown, if he would agree to be the backup.
Still, this won’t be easy. The Jets likely will have to overspend without agreeing to a ridiculous amount.
Arizona, Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Miami, Minnesota, and possibly even the Giants will be vying for his services. The biggest push is expected to come from Arizona, Buffalo, and Minnesota. Jacksonville will be a big player if they decide not to pay Blake Bortles his $19 million.
Cousins can take the Jets to the next level and help them become the dominant team in the AFC East. Don’t expect Tom Brady to play to age 45, and Bill Belichick to be around that long either.
Jets, the door is open. You have the cash. This is the time to raise the bar.
Sign Kirk Cousins.