<
>

Jay Cutler heads cast of characters being considered for Jets QB vacancy

The longest-running quarterback soap opera (outside Cleveland) continues to provide new characters and compelling storylines.

The latest script for "All My Quarterbacks" -- the New York Jets' annual search for the next Broadway Joe -- contains a couple of intriguing plot twists.

Our latest rankings, based on the likelihood of landing with the Jets:

1. Jay Cutler, free agent: The Jets reached out to him last week when he was released by the Chicago Bears and remain interested. He reportedly will take a visit. He's the most accomplished quarterback on the list, so his price tag will be higher than the others. There's also the baggage. It'll take a sell job by the Jets because Cutler probably isn't hot for a rebuilding situation at 34. If they wait until April 29 for the visit -- his birthday -- maybe they can try the cupcake ploy.

2. Chase Daniel, free agent: He was released Monday by the Philadelphia Eagles, who paid him $7 million last season for one pass. They still owe him another $5 million for 2017, but that includes an offset. Daniel, 30, drew interest from the Jets last offseason during the Ryan Fitzpatrick contract mess, and he probably will get another call. He has thrown fewer passes in seven years (78) than Bryce Petty has thrown in two (133), so we're talking about a No. 2 quarterback at best. His familiarity with Sean Payton's offense is a plus. New coordinator John Morton also spent time with Payton at the New Orleans Saints. He never overlapped with Daniel, but they'd have some common ground, which helps when a new offense is being installed.

3. Josh McCown, free agent: When aren't the Jets interested in McCown? It seems to be an offseason ritual. McCown, 37, has a reputation for being a good teammate and would be a terrific mentor for Petty and Christian Hackenberg, but has started only 11 games over the past two seasons.

4. Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos: If John Elway lands Tony Romo, he could put Siemian on the trading block. The Jets like him. He's young and cheap, with a big arm, but they want to hold on to their draft picks. Maybe they could peddle Sheldon Richardson to the Broncos. This wouldn't be the first Jets-Broncos trade for a quarterback (See: Tim Tebow).

5. Brock Osweiler, Cleveland Browns: They're reportedly trying to flip Osweiler for a couple of draft picks, but they won't find any suckers and will have to release him. He was horrible last season for the Houston Texans (16 interceptions), but this is a player who was once envisioned by Elway as Peyton Manning's heir apparent. Unlike McCown, Daniel and Cutler, Osweiler has some upside. The Browns are on the hook for his $16 million salary, which includes an offset. The Jets could get him on the cheap, letting the Browns foot most of the bill.

6. AJ McCarron, Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are open to trading their No. 2 quarterback, who has one year left on his rookie deal. McCarron is a borderline No. 1/No. 2, so you really wouldn't want to give up too much in a trade, especially without a contract extension.

7. Robert Griffin III, free agent: He got an audience with Jets officials last year at the outset of the Fitzpatrick situation, but nothing came of that free-agent visit. The once-promising RG III, cut by the Browns, is battling to stay in the league.

8. Colin Kaepernick, free agent: He and Morton crossed paths with the San Francisco 49ers from 2012 to 2014, so there's that. Kaepernick improved his numbers last season on an awful team, but he owns the fifth-lowest Total QBR over the past two seasons (52.0), based on a minimum of 400 attempts.

9. Geno Smith, free agent: If his surgically repaired knee were healed, he'd be higher on the list, but there's some concern about the timetable. At the same time, Smith probably wants a change of scenery after four adversity-filled seasons in New York.

10. Mark Sanchez, free agent: For old times' sake?