BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The Jets might have a chance to get their next quarterback in free agency.
According to sources, the Chiefs traded Alex Smith to the Redskins on Tuesday night, which means Kirk Cousins, who was franchised the last two seasons, will become a free agent in March.
The Jets are interested in acquiring Cousins if the price is right.
Cousins said on WFAN on Tuesday afternoon he wouldn’t be afraid to play in the New York market.
“From what I’ve heard, it’s a tough market, man, if I’m making it about the media, I’ve got bigger problems,” Cousins said. “I’ve got to ignore the noise, right? No matter where I play. Washington, D.C., isn’t exactly in the middle of nowhere, so I’d like to think I have some experience dealing with a media market.”
Cousins was franchised by the Redskins the past two seasons and wasn’t sure if it was going to happen again.
This latest development means he’ll be the most sought after free-agent quarterback on the marketplace.
Before the Smith trade, Cousins said his availability as a free agent was uncertain because the Redskins had until March 6 to place a franchise tag on him.
“Let’s get to March 6 and see what the Redskins choose to do,” Cousins said when asked about the Jets on WFAN. “At that point, the ball swings back to my court. Instead of being passive, I can finally be active in the process and be able to answer those questions.”
Now it doesn’t matter.
What the Jets are willing to pay Cousins will be interesting this spring.
The Jets have a projected $78 million in salary-cap space, which will increase with the expected release of several veterans such as Muhammad Wilkerson and Matt Forte.
Cousins could command a yearly salary of $25 million to $30 million. In 2017, Cousins went 7-9 as a starter with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and threw for 4,093 yards.
If the price for Cousins is too high, the Jets could retain their own free-agent quarterback, Josh McCown. The Jets also could use McCown as a bridge to a young quarterback if the team drafts a quarterback. The Jets have the No. 6 overall pick in the April draft and they will have their choice of several high-profile college quarterbacks.
If the Jets do get Cousins, one thing is in their favor: Jeremy Bates. The Jets are expected to promote Bates from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. Todd Bowles hasn’t completed his coaching staff because he not only needs a new offensive coordinator but an offensive line coach and quarterbacks coach, too.
When Bowles does complete his staff and if Bates is calling plays, Cousins endorses it.
“I just think he’s a good football mind,” Cousins said of Bates. “He’s about the ball and that’s what matters to him. Everybody I talked to who knows him, loves him. I think it was a smart hire by the Jets and I wish him well in what he does.”
The Kansas City Star and several other outlets were reporting that the Chiefs would receive cornerback Kendall Fuller and a 2018 third-round draft pick.