The Jets haven't begun to clear the salary cap room they need to be active in free agency, so it remains to be seen just how active they will be. But they'll have to do something when the signing period opens on March 9 because they have plenty of needs.
So what will they do? Last week, I took a look at five free agents who could (or should) be on the Jets' radar at several positions. This week, I'll focus on the most important position -- quarterback. The Jets will likely at least look for a quarterback-of-the-future on the market. Whether they sign one might depend on the price.
It may also depend on who's available. For the purposes of this list, I'll focus on the players whose contracts are about to expire, not the ones -- like Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor, San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick, or Dallas' Tony Romo -- who still potentially could be set free.
Mike Glennon (Bucs) - By all accounts, he remains the most likely player for the Jets to target if they go the free-agent route in their search for their future quarterback. They've pursued him before and the former third-round pick is only 27 years old and has a strong arm and starting experience. The only issue is that the market is thin and if Glennon is deemed the best of the bunch, he could get somewhere near the crazy, four-year, $72 million deal (with $37 million guaranteed) that Brock Osweiler got from Houston last year. ESPN has already reported that the expectation is Glennon could end up with a deal worth $13-15 million per season. That puts him short of the Osweiler range, but all it takes is two teams that want him to drive the price out of control.
Matt Barkley (Bears) - His numbers weren't great as he started the final six games of the season in Chicago, and the Bears went 1-5. But the former fourth-round pick, on his third team in four years, did show some interesting flashes in what were his first NFL starts. They eye-openers were back-to-back games in Week 15 and 16 at home against Green Bay and Washington. He completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 362 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-27 loss to the Packers, and completed 60 percent of his passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-21 loss to Washington. OK, he also threw eight interceptions in those two games, but some scouts thought he showed promise overall. He's also only 26 and won't be crazy expensive. And guess what? Barkley was the starter at USC from 2009-11. His offensive coordinator in 2009-10 was John Morton, now the Jets' offensive coordinator. His quarterbacks coach in 2009? Jeremy Bates, the Jets' new quarterbacks coach.
Brian Hoyer (Bears) - The fact that this 31-year-old journeyman is one of the top free agent quarterbacks available tells you all you need to know about the current state of the quarterback market. He's not terrible. In five starts (six games) for the Bears last season he completed 67 percent of his passes and didn't throw an interception. He also helped get the Texans to the playoffs in 2015 (where he threw four interceptions in a 30-0 loss at home to the Kansas City Chiefs). Regardless, his age alone should be enough to make the Jets pass. They need to think young and about their future. Hoyer would be Ryan Fitzpatrick revisited.
Geno Smith (Jets) - Stop rolling your eyes. Chances are a reunion is not in the works. Smith likely wants to find a better situation, and the Jets probably want to move on, too. But remember, head coach Todd Bowles intended to make Smith his starter in 2015 before he got that broken jaw in a fight and "FitzMagic" was born, and he was going to get another shot last season before he tore his ACL. Given his injury and performance history, his market will be thin, if not nonexistent. But he's still a former second-round pick who knows the Jets' personnel. If they decide Christian Hackenberg is their future, would a one-year deal for Smith be such a bad idea? … Like I said, stop rolling your eyes.
Kirk Cousins (Redskins) - It's not going to happen because even Dan Snyder isn't crazy enough to let his franchise quarterback walk away. The Redskins are trying to sign Cousins to a long-term deal before March 1, but if they don't they will almost certainly hit him with the "franchise tag" again. That will either buy them time to continue negotiations, or it guarantees Cousins will get about $24 million for 2017 alone. But … yeah, I know I said it's not going to happen, but Cousins wants to get paid and the Redskins obviously haven't settled on what they think is fair value, and you never know where negotiations are going to go. So just keep this one in the back of your minds, because if talks break down and somehow he's available, he'll jump to the top of a lot of teams' quarterback list.