Jets’ flurry of moves must not deter them from drafting a QB
One of these days, the Jets will be a seductive green oasis in the desert, a dream destination for anyone who treasures winning over riches.
Tuesday, 49 years after Super Bowl III, wasn’t one of those days.
Kirk Cousins took one quick look at the Vikings and said to himself: “Skol!”
Cousins took the historic fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million deal from the Vikings to become the highest-paid player in the NFL. Never even visited beautiful Florham Park, N.J.
And Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan was left at the altar, holding that $90 million bag. With that everlasting gaping hole at the most important position on the field: franchise quarterback.
Plan B was two-fold: bringing back 39-year-old godsend Josh McCown on a one year, $10 million deal as the mid-March starter and signing Teddy Bridgewater to a one-year deal as well, those terms were not immediately available. Bridgewater hasn’t played for two years after wrecking his knee.
McCown is a Band-Aid, and even if you consider Bridgewater low risk/high reward, he is still a risk. Otherwise, Mike Zimmer and the Vikings would have kept him.
Until proven otherwise, he is a bridge over troubled waters.
The Jets still need a Plan C.
Plan B must not preclude Maccagnan from getting his quarterback of the future with the sixth pick of the draft, and gift him with a redshirt year.
Maccagnan did manage to get back up off the deck by signing cornerback Trumaine Johnson ($15 million per), a great get, and running back Isaiah Crowell.
A good comeback. Money well spent at areas of need.
But his quarterback situation remains a wing and a prayer.
Look, by no means is Cousins a sure thing. He is the last piece to the Vikings’ Super Bowl puzzle. He should never have been viewed as the franchise quarterback who would carry a franchise to the playoffs. Especially the Jets franchise.
But he would have given coach Todd Bowles a fighting chance in his fourth season after three out of the playoffs. Would have given the Jets a helping healing of stability and credibility. He was the best option on the market.
But Cousins telling the Jets to kiss off doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Not if Maccagnan gets quarterback of the future as right as he got Christian Hackenberg wrong.
Maccagnan has a pair of second-round picks to use as chips to trade up. He cannot sit at No. 6 and settle for whichever quarterback is left on the board.
He needs to be Trader Mike — which is what we used to call former GM Mike Tannenbaum, who went up and got Mark Sanchez in 2009.
Maccagnan’s immediate problem is the Browns, Giants and Broncos all need young quarterbacks and will be drafting in front of him. And the Dolphins are sitting at 11 with Ryan Tannehill. And the Bills, so desperate for a quarterback, just traded up to 12. And the Cardinals are sitting at 15 with fragile Sam Bradford as a stopgap.
Maccagnan should try to make every team drafting ahead of him an offer they can’t refuse to get the franchise quarterback at the top of his board. Even the Giants at 2.
One of these draft quarterbacks, maybe two of them, maybe three of them, will succeed. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Maccagnan needs to get one he likes. He can’t afford to settle for his quarterback of the future just for the sake of showing his fan base that he drafted one.
Maybe this will all turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Maybe Baker Mayfield is the apple of Maccagnan’s eye and will be sitting there for the taking, and bring all that fire and moxie and leadership to Florham Park. Broadway Baker. Who, say, McCown could teach to be a professional.
Maybe they will strike lightning in a bottle with Bridgewater.
Except when was the last time the Jets got lucky at quarterback. Or at anything?