The New York Jets find themselves in the same position they seem to every single year when the regular season ends.
Looking for the answer at quarterback.
Right now, the Jets have just two quarterbacks on the roster – Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Petty has yet to show much in the way of starting ability, with just 1,353 yards, four touchdowns and 10 interceptions across 10 games while competing just 53 percent of his passes. It’s a small sample size but feels like enough.
As small as the sample size is for Petty, at least there is one. Hackenberg has yet to take a snap, and though you can argue that he could be coming along fine, the fact that in two lost seasons the Jets refused to send him out is troubling.
Let’s assume he’s never going to be ready then.
Which leaves the Jets in the position of either drafting another quarterback at No. 6 or finding one in free agency. According to OvertheCap.com, New York has $74.5 million in cap space this year.
Let’s take a look at a few choices for either one.
It’s an intriguing free agency class at quarterback with a lot of upside wrapped in uncertainty. Two choices probably get knocked around more than anyone else, and could be the two best free agency options for the Jets.
Cousins, who will turn 30 next August, is one of those quarterbacks who will always divide the critics.
While Cousins’ win/loss record isn’t spectacular, he’s coming off a season where he had the ninth best completion percentage (64.3 percent) and a quarterback rating of 93.9, good enough for 12th best in the NFL.
Looking at Cousins play, an observer sees a strong arm which is generally accurate and, given time, can throw the ball all over the field. Cousins is also mobile, though nobody is mistaking him for Aaron Rodgers.
Put him in a good offense with a decent run game, and you’re in business. The Jets have the pieces for that run game, and with Quincy Enunwa back next year, along with Jermaine Kearse (the jury is, quite literally, out on Robby Anderson) and a surprisingly productive Austin Seferian-Jenkins, some potentially nice weapons to throw to.
The market isn’t saturated with top-shelf prospects, which could inflate Cousins’ price tag, but with their cap space, the Jets could absolutely float him the $20-odd million he will ask for.
While Tyrod Taylor is under contract, the Bills have made it abundantly clear over the last couple of years that they would rather he not be.
There’s a good chance they will move, or just as likely release, Taylor before we hit the NFL Draft.
Like Cousins, Taylor is a long way from an elite quarterback, but he can be effective. Taylor has a strong arm, is pretty accurate and, of course, highly dangerous with his legs. He has always seemed capable of a lot more than the Bills asked of him, and the Jets would be wise to combine his athletic ability with the passing ability.
Taylor, who turns 29 in August, isn’t Russel Wilson, but he has the potential to be a poor man’s version of the Seattle quarterback and that could still be plenty effective.
Josh Allen of Wyoming, Josh Rosen of UCLA, Sam Darnold of USC and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma all have top billing in somebody’s rankings. Picking at No. 6, the Jets would have to wait and pray one of their guys fell to them.
The two quarterbacks who, as of right now, I like with the Jets the most are two guys with some off-field personalities to match their on-field abilities. Rosen and Mayfield both throw a nice ball and have great arm talent, as well as an ability to rise to the occasion when a team needs them to.
Off the field they are both outspoken and brash, which may rub people the wrong way but should remind Jets of the one quarterback to take them to the promised land.
Joe Namath flourished under the bright lights of New York City. Rosen and Mayfield have the personality the media and fans will love in the same way, and a lot of ability. The Jets may have to reign them in from time to time, but their ability and confidence are the sort of thing you want to build around at the quarterback position.