Jets' quarterback focus should extend beyond Kirk Cousins

Would paying $30 million per season for Kirk Cousins be worth the price for the Jets, who are far from becoming a title contender? Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

Here are the moves the New York Jets should consider when free agency opens at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, March 14:

Sign a veteran quarterback: It's an absolute must. Bryce Petty is the only quarterback on the roster with regular-season experience, and his starting record is 1-6. Get the picture? Kirk Cousins is the best free agent, and the Jets will go after him hard, but it wouldn't be the worst thing if he decides to take his talents elsewhere. If you're going to overpay for a player (we're talking about $30 million a year), he should be the final piece in the championship puzzle -- and Cousins isn't that for the Jets. They can make due by re-signing Josh McCown and adding another veteran, perhaps Teddy Bridgewater, then drafting an heir apparent.

Get one of the top two centers: Some evaluators rate Ryan Jensen as the top center on the market, others say it's Weston Richburg. Truth be told, Richburg probably is the better fit in the Jets' zone-blocking scheme, but Jensen wouldn't be a bad consolation prize. The point is, they need to sign a top starter because it will be a difficult position to fill via the draft. Their 2017 starter, Wesley Johnson, struggled in the running game and will hit free agency. He'd be a good depth signing for the Jets, but they need to aim higher. Improved play in the pivot will elevate the rest of the offensive line.

Don't overpay for a running back or wide receiver: The only runner or receiver worth a top-of-the-market contract was Allen Robinson, who is reportedly headed to Chicago. The Jets might want to part ways with Robby Anderson, whose off-the-field behavior is testing the organization's patience. However, with Robinson out of the picture, anything short of maybe Sammy Watkins, depending on the price -- wouldn't be an upgrade. The Jets have been linked to running back Dion Lewis, but he might be too expensive. The draft is loaded with runners and it would be shortsighted to spend $6 million a year on a veteran, considering the position's short shelf life.

Solve the cornerback crisis: They have only one starting-caliber corner under contract -- Buster Skrine -- and he's better suited to the nickel role. Coach Todd Bowles needs two outside corners to operate his pressure-heavy scheme, and he doesn't have any. They should aim for one of the big-ticket corners -- Malcolm Butler or Trumaine Johnson -- and try to re-sign Morris Claiborne, who has a moderate price tag. Corners are pricey because it's a premium position, but the secondary needs help (30 touchdown passes allowed).

Keep their own: The Jets don't have any top-tier free agents, but Claiborne, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and linebacker Demario Davis -- all solid starters -- are worth retaining at the right price. It looks like Seferian-Jenkins will sign elsewhere.