The Kirk Cousins sweepstakes will officially and legally be underway on Wednesday when the NFL’s free agency period begins with the former Redskins passer the crown jewel of the open market.
Coming off three-successive 4,000-plus-yard seasons, the 29-year-old’s inability to secure a long-term contract with the Washington Redskins will make one team desperate for a franchise quarterback very lucky and immediately one of the winners of the league’s free agency period.
One of those desperate teams in is the New York Jets, who have been linked to the quarterback soon after the Redskins traded for Alex Smith, making Cousins expendable after being franchise tagged for the past two seasons.
With an estimated $100 million in cap space, the Jets have the funds to outduel any other interested team in a bidding war, but the team’s recent history will be a tougher sell.
The Jets haven’t made the playoffs since 2010 and are coming off a 5-11 season that was considered an overachievement considering New York was not expected to win more than one or two games in 2017 after purging big contracts and rolling a team devoid of any kind of headlining talent.
Still, the Jets are one of the favorites to sign him alongside the Minnesota Vikings, who have a lot more to offer on the field with offensive weapons like wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen along with young running back Dalvin Cook, who has proven in his short time in the league that he more than capable of catching the ball out of the backfield.
At the end of the day, it will come down to a desire to win immediately with a Vikings team that made the NFC Championship Game in 2017, or money and a rebuilding franchise in the Jets.
On Tuesday morning, young Jets receiver ArDarius Stewart appeared on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football and made his pitch to Cousins on why he should join the Jets.
When told that the quarterback’s recruitment could all be on him, Stewart replied quickly with “If it’s on me, that’s all you need.”
Stewart was underutilized during his rookie season with the Jets after being drafted in the third round last year. While he returned kicks, the Alabama product caught just six passes for 82 yards.
But he showed flashes of what he is capable of doing in the NFL during the last game of the season against the New England Patriots, hauling in a 46-yard bomb from Bryce Petty.
At 5-foot-11, he’s not the biggest receiver out there, but he makes up for it with an explosive first step and speed to maintain any sort of separation created by his agility. With offseason trouble finding New York’s leading receiver Robby Anderson, which puts his future with the team in serious doubt, Stewart could see far more action in 2018 where he could possibly be catching passes from Cousins.
“We’re building,” Stewart admitted. “We got a young team, we’re strong. Now we need someone to lead us.”
No pressure, Kirk.