The Jets' biggest free agency fear is about to become reality.
Kirk Cousins, the franchise quarterback the Jets coveted, will be signing with the Minnesota Vikings, according to multiple reports. A team source confirmed that the Jets are expecting that to happen as soon as the signing period opens on Wednesday, and they are moving on with their Plan B.
That Plan B could be a combination of former Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and last year's Jets starter, Josh McCown, according to a league source. The Jets might also hedge their bets by taking a quarterback in the draft - perhaps with the sixth overall pick.
They had hoped to entice Cousins, though, and were prepared to make him a lucrative, front-loaded offer - perhaps one that was either fully guaranteed, or close to it. But Jets officials assumed all along that the 29-year-old Cousins was leaning towards Vikings, as SNY has been reporting, where he thought he'd have the chance to immediately win. They were just hopeful that they'd get to make their pitch.
Instead, Cousins will reportedly sign a fully guaranteed, three-year, $86 million with the Vikings. His plan, according to the NFL Network, is to be in Minnesota on Wednesday, where he'll have dinner with team officials and coaches. Then, on Thursday, he's scheduled to tour their new, state-of-the-art team headquarters and practice facility.
No other visits are scheduled, a source confirmed, because by then his deal is expected to be signed.
Bridgewater would be a very interesting fallback option for the Jets. The 25-year-old was a rising star with the Vikings before he suffered a devastating injury that cost him most of the last two seasons. He is apparently healthy, and even returned to take a couple of snaps for the Vikings late in the season. If the Jets are convinced his knee is OK, he could be a much less expensive option with a tremendous upside.
They wouldn't bring Bridgewater in alone, though. A source said they would probably pair him with McCown, who'll be 39 in July. He was an incredibly popular player inside the Jets' building, and could be a good mentor for Bridgewater and great insurance if his knee doesn't hold up. The source added the Jets also could add a third quarterback to the mix, perhaps someone like Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield or Wyoming's Josh Allen if either of them are available with the sixth pick in the NFL draft.
The idea there would be to give them two options moving forward in their search for a Quarterback of the Future.
There aren't many other viable options on the free agent market. Case Keenum, the Vikings starter last season, is reportedly going to sign with the Denver Broncos. Sam Bradford, another former Vikings starter, is a free agent, but he'll be 31 in November, and has dealt with multiple knee injuries. Former Bengals backup A.J. McCarron is available, and the Jets have had mild interest in the past. And there's also been some speculation that Nick Foles will be available, but no one is sure the Philadelphia Eagles will trade him after he led them to their Super Bowl championship - especially for anything less than a first-round pick.