Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer 84d

Could Jets find future QB in free agency? Cousins, Brees among names

The college quarterbacks have been generating all the buzz, but what about the pro free agents for 2018? It's the topic for our New York Jets question of the week.

@RichCimini: Before I answer, let me say this, Dutch: In a perfect world, the Jets would prefer a highly rated college quarterback over a veteran free agent. I think you know the reasons: He'd be younger, giving him a chance to grow with the team. In all likelihood, he'd also be cheaper.

But let's say Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen decide to stay in school, and that Josh Allen -- not having a good year -- doesn't do it for the Jets. Fortunately for them, there could be some big-name options in free agency.

We're talking about Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford, Jimmy Garoppolo and, possibly, Drew Brees.

Yes, Brees. Technically, he's signed through 2020, but the contract voids after this season. (The New Orleans Saints added the three-year voidable to lower the cap charges.) There's also a clause in the deal that prohibits the Saints from using the franchise tag on Brees. In other words, if the two sides don't agree to a new deal by the start of the 2018 league year (March), he'll be a free agent.

I don't think Brees, 38, would be a great fit for a young, rebuilding team, and it's hard to envision him playing anywhere but New Orleans. But, hey, who knows? He has a connection to the Jets in offensive coordinator John Morton, who is a former Saints assistant. This would be Brett Favre all over again.

Cousins would cost an obscene amount of money (if he doesn't get the franchise tag for a third straight year), and I'm not sure you want to mortgage everything for a second-tier quarterback. Garoppolo is intriguing because he's only 25 and has the most upside, but who knows if he'll hit the market? You have to think the New England Patriots will figure out a way to keep Tom Brady's heir apparent.

Bradford, 29, could be interesting, but his knees are a concern. Teddy Bridgewater would be someone to watch, assuming his severely injured knee checks out.

The Jets have gone the route of the castoff quarterback many times over the decades, and it hasn't worked. If they have their druthers, they'll start fresh with a 21-year-old stud from college.

Mark this date on your calendar -- Jan. 15, the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft. It will be a pivotal date in Jets history.

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