Heading into the 2018 offseason, the New York Jets have many questions about personnel. What will GM Mike Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles decide?
Ask a long-suffering New York Jets fan what they think of the team they root for and most would answer to expect the worst. Throughout the years, a parade of general managers and head coaches have made promises and failed to deliver. It is very rare that both get a second chance to rebuild something they were unable to do their first time around. However, that is precisely the chance that Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles have been given.
Looking at the current roster, despite their 5-11 record in 2017, the Jets exceeded expectations. What are realistic possibilities for the 2018 season? Despite all the stories about Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft, right now the Patriots are still the standard the Jets need to meet. Can they raise their game to meet those standards in 2018?
While bringing back Josh McCown should be one of the Jets offseason goals, they cannot rely on him to be the answer at quarterback. Featuring McCown as a backup and go to in emergency situations is something that he would be excellent at.
Kirk Cousins is the best option.
He is young and his best years are ahead of him. Unlike Case Keenum, he does not have years of mediocre play on his resume. The only question for Cousins is whether he can withstand the media scrutiny that would come with playing in professional sports largest media market. Unfortunately, until he plays in New York, one cannot predict what outcome that will produce.
DURABILITY AND CONSISTENCY
Kirk Cousins has played all 48 games of the Redskins last three seasons. He has thrown for over 4,000 yards and at least 25 touchdowns in each of those seasons. In comparison, only one quarterback in franchise history (Joe Namath in 1967) has thrown for 4,000 yards. Just one Jets quarterback has thrown for 25 touchdowns in multiple seasons (Ken O’Brien in 1985 and 1986).
Cousins has three straight seasons of completing at least 347 passes. The Jets team record for completions in a season is 343. Two times Cousins has completed at least 67 percent of his passes in a season. Jets quarterbacks have only reached that number twice in their history (at least ten starts).
|Touchdown Passes||31||Ryan Fitzpatrick||2015|
|Passing Yards||4,0007||Joe Namath||1967|
|Completion Percentage||68.9%||Chad Pennington||2002|
Cousins will be just 30 entering the 2018 season. His best years are still ahead of him. Unlike running backs, quarterbacks still have many seasons left when they reach 30. Drew Brees had just one season of 30-plus touchdowns before turning 30. He has eight since. Each of Tom Brady’s seven seasons of 30-plus touchdowns and eight of his nine 4,000 yard passing seasons occurred after turning 30.
Before anyone starts throwing stones, I’m not suggesting that Cousins is at the level of Brees or Brady. However, when you compare his last three seasons against the Jets history of quarterbacks, Cousins blows them away.
|Seasons with at least 27 touchdown passes||2||2|
|Seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards||1||3|
|Seasons with a 67 percent-plus completion percentage||2||2|
Unlike selecting a quarterback in the first round, which unless you have a can’t-miss blue-chip prospect like Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck or John Elway, the Jets know what they are getting with Cousins. Unlike the other free agent quarterbacks available, Cousins has established credentials and is young enough to build a franchise around.
At this point in franchise history, the Jets need something as close to a sure bet as possible in choosing who their quarterback will be in 2018. Expecting a draft pick to come in and lead this organization immediately was tried already with Mark Sanchez. Perhaps if the Jets paid more attention to the players around him, Sanchez reign in New York wouldn’t have fallen so drastically – and bringing in Tim Tebow certainly did not help.
Unless a quarterback like Matthew Stafford is made available via trade, Cousins is the best option for a team looking to contend for seasons to come in the AFC East.