Yes, $60 million in 2018 is a huge risk for Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. So to is guaranteeing the entirety of his deal. As is making him the highest paid quarterback in the NFL.
But it is worth every penny to the New York Jets and it will be a pittance of a cost if Cousins leads this young Jets team not just back to the playoffs but to the Super Bowl.
The rumors may be way off the mark but Cousins is worth every bit of the bantered about amounts being rumored and reported this past week. Sure, Cousins has his flaws: Washington never made the playoffs with Cousins as a starter, something that must raise an eyebrow for any team looking to build around him. He is coming off a year where he had a career-high number of interceptions, fumbles and also sacks suffered. True too that he had the lowest passer rating of any of his last three seasons.
Cousins, however, would step in and be the best Jets quarterback since Joe Namath. There is no doubt about that. And for a team that hasn’t made the Super Bowl in what is now going on 50 years, that is close enough to guarantee at this point.
Over the last three years in Washington, each of those seasons he surpassed 4,000 passing yards, any of which would be the best passing season in Jets franchise history. And he’s averaged 27 passing touchdowns during that span, a number that would be third best in franchise history for a single season. For an organization that has struggled to find an answer under center, Cousins is not a question but a bona fide solution.
This isn’t a rent-a-quarterback in the Brett Favre mold. This is a building block. This is a transformational signing in so many meanings of the word.
The problems in Washington run far deeper than Cousins, a dumpster-fire of an organization that has struck out in free agency and has had an equally deplorable record in the NFL Draft in recent years. Despite those issues, Cousins still put up big numbers.
And with plenty of salary cap space and the sixth overall pick in the draft, the Jets can surely add an offensive lineman or two and a couple of skill position playmakers to make an anemic offense start to click.
But beyond the numbers, beyond the need for a quarterback, going after Cousins would be transformational for the Jets.
This is an organization that has long been tagged as the ‘Same Old Jets,’ the lovable losers who can’t get out of their own way. But Cousins would be a serious move, a tremendous hand by the poker playing general manager Mike Maccagnan. He’d be doubling down and sending a clear message that this team and his job is ready to play with the big boys.
And a quarterback who is averaging over 4,000 passing yards and has completed 65.5 percent of his career passes is a serious move to consider. The move would resonate around the league.
It would say to free agents that the Jets are serious about getting serious. No longer are they a retirement home, no more moves such as Tim Tebow or other gimmicks to get fans in the stands or try to ignite the play on the field. It would be a move not by ownership to sell tickets but by the men who know football to get a real football player to lead this team’s offense.
Sure, $60 million for the first year of his contract is ridiculous but Cousins coming to the Jets could be at an opportune time. Perhaps, just maybe, the New England Patriots dynasty is slipping a bit and there is a glimmer of hope in the AFC East. And across town the New York Giants were putrid last year, presenting an opportunity for the Jets to step forward and put together a competitive team that can win the backpages over.
It is a huge risk but a calculated one for the Jets, one that very likely will determine the legacy of Maccagnan as well as head coach Todd Bowles. One thing is clear, however, if the Jets land Cousins: They are the ‘Same Old Jets’ no more.
The circus, will have finally left town.