The speculation surrounding the Jets’ eventual pursuit of Kirk Cousins has prompted some much-needed comedic relief during the NFL’s silly season.
There have been some whoppers in the past week or so. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Woody and Christopher Johnson were willing to offer an ownership stake to the soon-to-be free-agent quarterback.
Heck, why stop there? Why not just change MetLife Stadium to Cousins Coliseum?
After all, that would be as probable as some of the unfounded stuff I’ve read in recent days that paints a wholly inaccurate picture of this situation.
First and foremost, the Jets absolutely would love to sign Cousins in the coming weeks, according to team sources. He’s a win-now AND win-later quarterback entering the prime of his career. There’s a large enough window (at least five seasons) to win with the soon-to-be 30-year-old signal caller to make it more than worthwhile to make a strong investment in him, but let’s be clear: The Jets are not going to try to bring him aboard by any means necessary.
The notion that the organization will go to any lengths to sign him is patently false. There’s a difference between making a strong and aggressive move for a player (aka – an all-in mindset) and actually recklessly overspending. The Jets aren’t going to hand Cousins a blank check, according to team sources.
That would just be plain ol’ dumb business.
Truth be told, some folks on One Jets Drive have gotten a kick out of the unfounded rumors that they’re willing to break their budget for Cousins (even though they have prioritized him). There’s a distinct difference between paying the man and adopting some of the tactics being proposed in recent days.
There’s little doubt that Cousins would be a terrific fit for new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, but the idea of paying him $ 60 million in the first year of a blockbuster deal is beyond ludicrous. Speculation that the Jets would be willing to absorb a $ 60 million cap hit in 2018 for Cousins so they could free up future cap space in subsequent years to build around the quarterback simply isn’t true, according to team insiders. It makes for good headlines, but it isn’t rooted in reality. It’s actually illogical on myriad fronts.
By rule, the cap hit in the second year of a deal must be at least 50 percent of the Year 1 cap charge. So, this fairytale $ 60 million cap hit scenario would mean that Cousins would have to count at least $ 30 million against the Jets 2019 cap.
But, hey, this nonsense gets people talking, right?
The comps will give you a good sense of the general structure of Cousins’ deal. Jimmy Garoppolo will make $ 42.6 million in the first year of his recently signed five-year, $ 137.5 million extension. The 49ers will absorb a $ 37 million salary cap hit in 2018 and subsequent cap charges of $ 20 million, $ 26.6 million, $ 26.9 million and $ 27 million. Here’s the most important part of the contract: Jimmy G will pocket $ 86.4 million in the first three years of the deal.
Matthew Stafford’s five-year, $ 135 million deal from last summer provides another window into Cousins’ future. The Lions paid Stafford $ 51 million (including a $ 50 million signing bonus) in 2017, while absorbing a $ 16.5 million cap hit (lowering his base salary to $ 1 million in the first year of the deal helped keep the cap number relatively low). Stafford’s 2018 earnings drop to $ 16.5 million, but his cap number increases by 61 percent to $ 26.5 million. He will pocket $ 87 million in the first three years of the deal.
Cousins will get a comparable contract. The Jets, who will have more than $ 90 million in available cap space after Mo Wilkerson and Matt Forte are cut in the coming weeks, aren’t going to make a cursory inquiry. They’ll be real players for Cousins, but they are not going to wildly overspend or make history by offering him a fully guaranteed four- or five-year deal, according to team sources.
Gang Green believes that there will be about three other strong suitors. On the surface, the Broncos, Browns, Vikings, Cardinals and Bills have their own quarterback dilemmas, but will they all be serious bidders for Cousins’ services? The Jets don’t think so. Some of those teams will address their signal caller needs in the draft.
Breaking news: Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield are going to be on NFL teams in a few months.
The Jets want Cousins. They’ll make a strong, fair proposal and plan accordingly if he goes elsewhere.
In the meantime, enjoy reading the comics.