With a rag-tag looking roster and little hope, the New York Jets surprised the masses in 2017 by pulling out a 5-11 record when they were expected to win two or three games at most.
Much of the credit has to do with the head coaching of Todd Bowles and his ability to get the most out of his players, which didn’t exactly provide an abundance of star power.
Among the most pleasant of surprises was quarterback Josh McCown, who put up a career year at age 38 as he passed for 2,926 yards with 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions. But even the most optimistic of Jets fans realize there has to be a turnover at the position soon.
The Jets still need to find a franchise quarterback, something the organization has been lacking for quite some time. Some will even argue since Joe Namath.
But because of their surprising five-win season, the Jets will not be picking until sixth overall in the 2018 NFL draft, which means they will likely lose out on the top-two quarterback prospects in USC’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen.
Sure, the Jets could gamble and take either Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield or Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, who might not have the promise to warrant such a high selection. Or they can address another need and go after a quarterback in free agency.
Luckily for them, there are three viable options that could be on the market for the taking:
It’s unlikely that the Washington Redskins will franchise tag Cousins for a third-consecutive season at a $34.47 million price tag, allowing the 29-year-old to look for a new home.
While he isn’t the first name one thinks of when categorizing marquee quarterbacks, Cousins has thrown for over 4,000 yards in each of the three seasons in which he’s been the Redskins starting quarterback.
His numbers did see a bit of a dip after the departure of former offensive coordinator Sean McVay, going from 4,917 yards in 2016 to 4,093 in 2017. However, Cousins tossed 27 touchdown passes this year compared to 25 the year before.
That’s right, the Minnesota Vikings quarterback that is one win away from the Super Bowl likely won’t be on the roster next season as Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford will be back and healthy in 2018. It renders Keenum expendable as he will be a free agent once Minnesota’s run ends.
This season though might have just earned Keenum a sizeable contract. After being nothing more than a backup and spot starter over his first five seasons in the NFL, Keenum was forced into the starting role under center and ran with it. He set career highs with 14 starts, amassing 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns while going 11-3 as a starter.
There was a time earlier in the 2017 season when the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback was garnering consideration for the NFL’s MVP award. Through his first nine games of the season, Smith passed for 2,444 yards with 18 touchdowns and just one interception.
But a late-season swoon saw the Chiefs limp into the playoffs before getting upset by the Tennessee Titans. With young Pat Mahomes waiting in the wings waiting to take over Kansas City’s offense, Smith’s time at Arrowhead Stadium could be up whether he is released or traded.
He’s not the flashiest quarterback, but he is an above-average game manager who knows how to take care of the ball.