While Kirk Cousins wound up in Minnesota, the New York Jets were closer to landing the prized free agent than some may think.
“The Jets were terrific,” Cousins’ agent, Mike McCartney told Rich Cimini of ESPN. “I have a lot of respect for Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles and their staffs. (Offensive coordinator) Jeremy Bates was very attractive to me, personally, for Kirk to fit into his offense. At the end of the day, it was close.”
McCartney added: “I think Kirk decided to visit Minnesota first. Some of it is gut feel, some of it probably the fact that they were in the NFC Championship Game. But it was not an easy decision.”
The Jets offered Cousins $30 million a season, $2 million more per year than what he’s getting with the Vikings. The quarterback never visited Gang Green, but clearly, their pitch resonated with McCartney.
Cousins explained to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News why he chose to go to the Vikings.
“I like to prepare. I like to cover my bases. And I don’t like to be surprised. The nature of free agency is that you don’t have time when free agency begins to do your research and to take your visits. Things move quickly as we saw. I did take full advantage the week I was here for Super Bowl week with (marketing/promotional) events. I had about five or six days here. Rented a car and drove out here and drove by Winter Park and drove through Eagan. I wanted to get a feel for the area and did the best research that I could.”
I called (my wife) Julie near the end of the week and I said everything’s checking the boxes here. The timing of it was such that I think the second day I was here was when the (Washington) trade (for Alex Smith) was made to show that I was going to be moving on. So, the timing was good for me to start being able to do research here. From there, it was just a process of continuing to gather facts.”
While the Jets lost out on Cousins, they did sign quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a one-year deal and re-signed Josh McCown, also for one year. Still, Jets fans will continue to wonder “what if” Cousins had decided to accept the team’s offer.