FA Preview: Jets' QB Options Abound

Posted Mar 7, 2018

Will Green & White Tap McCown Again or Wade into the Unrestricted Free Agency Waters?

Jets Free Agents
UFA: Josh McCown

The Market
Kirk Cousins (WAS), Drew Brees (NO), Case Keenum (MIN), Teddy Bridgewater (MIN), Sam Bradford (MIN), AJ McCarron (CIN), Mike Glennon (CHI), Jay Cutler (MIA), Chad Henne (JAX), Derek Anderson (CAR), Matt Moore (MIA), Ryan Fitzpatrick (TB), Mark Sanchez (CHI), Geno Smith (NYG), Kellen Clemens (LAC), Drew Stanton (ARZ).


In the interest of completeness, here is our free agency preview for quarterbacks, although most Jets fans are well aware of how QB shook out last year and which veterans are likely to attract attention if they become unrestricted free agents in a few weeks.

Josh McCown did a creditable job taking over the signal calling for most of 2017. He didn't have a winning record (5-8) before going on IR with a broken wrist, and he will turn 39 on the Fourth of July. But he did hang up career highs in completions (267), accuracy (67.3%), yards (2,926) and TD passes (18). His eight 100-plus passer rating games were second-most by a Jets starter in a season behind Ken O'Brien's nine in 1985, and of his five TD runs, four were from a yard out, most in a season by a Jets QB. Not to mention he was a great locker room influence.

Behind McCown, Bryce Petty lost all three of his starts and Christian Hackenberg didn't take a snap.

As coach Todd Bowles said back on New Year's Day, "Josh had a great year. It would be great to have him back." But Bowles also acknowledged that both sides have business decisions to make. And with the unrestricted free agent and top-of-the-draft fields brimming with QBs, as GM Mike Maccagnan said at the Combine, "quarterback is a position of interest for us."

Everybody's favorite UFA is Kirk Cousins, who has some great numbers the past three years as Washington's QB — at least 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns passing in all three seasons — and one so-so metric — a dead-even 24-24-1 record as a starter, including one playoff game.

Many expect the Jets to be in the Cousins market, but other teams also figure prominently there, too, such as Minnesota, which has three QBs in Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater who all can become UFAs.

AJ McCarron, who last month won a grievance against Cincinnati to be able to become an unrestricted FA, is another big name on the market. Mike Glennon will be released by Chicago at the start of the free agency period. Dolphins QBs Jay Cutler, whom the Jets beat once at home last year, and Matt Moore, who repaid them with a relief win at Miami, both can become free.

We listed Drew Brees because he can become a UFA, although it's probable he and the Saints will hammer out one more deal. We ended the market list above with a quintet of QBs with Jets connections — Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Kellen Clemens and Drew Stanton, who you'll recall was a Jet for about a week in 2012.