Kirk Cousins will be the biggest name on the quarterback market this offseason. He will also be the most expensive -- and some would say, best -- option for the Jets.
But he won't be their only option in an offseason when a surprising number of quality quarterbacks will be available. As the Jets try to make their move out of 'Quarterback Hell' -- a place they've resided in for decades, really -- GM Mike Maccagnan will have a plethora of choices, and the tools (a high draft pick and oodles of cap room) to help the Jets get their man.
Whether it's through the draft, a trade, or free agency, there's no excuse for the Jets not to come out of this spring without their quarterback for at least the next five years or so. Here's a guide to the quarterbacks who will likely be available in the coming weeks:
The free agents
If you don't think there'll be a crazy bidding war for him, keep in mind the number of teams that pursued Mike Glennon last year and the three-year, $45 million deal he ended up with in Chicago. Cousins is a true rarity -- a franchise quarterback hitting free agency in his prime (assuming the Redskins don't franchise him for a third time). He will cash in big, and it will be deserved.
He's more of an unknown now, at 30 and coming off knee surgery. But one year ago in Minnesota he completed 71.6 percent of his passes for 3,877 yards with 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He's the second tier here, but he will get paid. Injuries make him a big risk, though.
On his third team in six seasons, Keenum had a career year and helped his team to the NFC championship game. But did he lead them or was he carried? And was this season a mirage for the journeyman? The talk is he'll get a deal similar to what Glennon got, but his fit is more with a team that doesn't have a lot of cap room to spend and maybe needs him to hold a spot for a young quarterback (Hello, Arizona).
The classic boom-or-bust choice. He's only 25 and looked so promising in 2015, but a serious knee injury the next summer put his career in doubt. The upside is tremendous. The downside is he never plays again. His best bet might be to sign with a team where he can back up an older quarterback and maybe work his way into that team's future.
The Texans, Broncos, and Browns have passed him around like a hot potato over the last few years. He's still 27 and still huge (6-7, 240) with a big arm, but he hasn't done enough in six seasons for a team like the Jets (or anyone) to trust him.
He exceeded all expectations last season, but the Jets have to do better. And younger. He'll be 39 in July. Maybe he can return to groom someone the Jets draft at No. 6, but any other way and the Jets are just wasting time.
The Jets were intrigued with him last offseason and even invited him in for a discussion. Instead, he chose retirement. And then un-retirement. And then he hovered between bad and mediocre in Miami. It's hard to see the Jets going down this road again.
Now that he's won a grievance against the Bengals and will be a free agent, he's an intriguing option. He's only 27 and drew some raves for his work in a four-game (three-start) cameo at the end of 2015. But that's really all he's done in four NFL seasons, and he wasn't highly regarded coming out of Alabama. He's an unknown with upside who really needs to be in a place where he can compete for a job.
Um, no. Not again.
Alex Smith was the most attractive trade option, and he's off the market now. Taylor's not officially on the market, and he may never be, but after the Bills benched him in the middle of last season his future is clearly not secure. The Jets were eyeing him last offseason when it looked like Buffalo might cut him. If he's available, they'll probably inquire. It's just hard to see the Bills trading a starting quarterback inside their own division.
He's gone from the consensus No. 1 to probably No. 2 to maybe even No. 3, but that's the way it goes for the top quarterbacks in every draft. Right now if the Jets want him they'd have to move up at least into the Top 3, and keep in mind there's no guarantee the Browns (at 1) or Giants (at 2) are trading. They both might take quarterbacks. In that case, the Jets would have to hope he drops and that the Colts (at 3) are willing to swap spots with the Jets at 6. … It's early, though, so all the first-round quarterbacks could end up moving all over the board.
One consistent thing has come out of the early draft analysis: Everyone thinks Rosen is one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft. If it stays that way, and the Browns and Giants do what's expected, Rosen won't be a possibility for the Jets.
Perhaps the most intriguing quarterback in the draft, he's a darling of scouts but coming off a mediocre season for a mostly bad Wyoming team against weak competition. Because of that he's a wild-card. There are already reports that have the Browns zeroing in on him at No. 1. He also could be available at 3, and if he is, the Colts will have some takers for their pick.
Before last week, not many thought he was a Top 10 pick. Then he had a terrific week at the Senior Bowl and now he's being talked as if he's almost as good as the Big 3. Still a bit undersized and with a wild-card of a personality, he'd be a real interesting choice if he falls to 6 for the Jets. And at this point, it's a decent bet that he might.
Barring a surprising rise up through the quarterback rankings after the combine and Pro Days, he'll definitely be available for the Jets at 6. They also might be able to trade down and still get him, though that's a risk a quarterback-needy team probably can't afford to take.
The second-round pick from 2016 is not really an option. The fact that he couldn't earn a snap in two seasons -- both of which saw the starting quarterback go down with an injury -- says it all. The Jets think he has a higher upside than Bryce Petty, but that's about as high as their praise goes these days. If they thought he had any chance to be their Quarterback of the Future, he would've played in December. He'll be battling for a job in training camp in July and August now instead.
He's had seven starts in the last two seasons to prove he deserves a shot. He didn't.