When you’re desperate for a long-term answer at quarterback, it helps to have as many options as possible.
With at least $80 million in projected salary-cap space next offseason, the Jets will have enough flexibility to make an aggressive run at Cousins if he becomes an unrestricted free agent, which seems likely after two years of failed negotiations and the prohibitive cost of using the franchise tag for a third straight year ($34.5 million).
Frankly, I’d be surprised if the starting-over Jets invest a massive amount of money in an older player — Cousins will be 30 by the start of the ’18 season — but you never know what might transpire over the course of the year. As of now, the 2018 draft, which could be loaded with stud quarterbacks, appears to be the internal preference if things don’t work out with Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. It certainly would be more cost-effective than doling out a $60 million guarantee (likely more) for a veteran.
There’s also the significant matter of whether Cousins would even consider the Jets. He has no connection to the current coaching staff or front office, so it would be a leap into foreign territory. The San Francisco 49ers would be the heavy favorite, as their new coach, Kyle Shanahan, was his offensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013….
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