A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
1. What might have been: The blockbuster trade to move up in the draft, presumably for a quarterback, never would've happened if the Jets had accomplished their "Plan A" in free agency -- sign Kirk Cousins. It has been five days since Cousins picked the Minnesota Vikings, enough time for the dust to settle. Let's take a look back.
Naturally, some feelings were chafed at One Jets Drive. The Jets made the best offer -- a reported three years, $90 million, fully guaranteed -- and yet they never got a visit from Cousins, who flew to Minneapolis last Wednesday and signed his historic three-year, $84 million contract (fully guaranteed) on Friday.
Did the Jets have a legitimate shot? Did they get used to drive up Cousins' price? Some questions remain.
"The Jets were terrific," Cousins' agent, Mike McCartney, told ESPN. "I have a lot of respect for Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles and their staffs. (Offensive coordinator) Jeremy Bates was very attractive to me, personally, for Kirk to fit into his offense. At the end of the day, it was close.
"I think Kirk decided to visit Minnesota first. Some of it is gut feel, some of it probably the fact that they were in the NFC Championship Game. But it was not an easy decision."
Let's face it, the Jets faced an uphill battle because of their roster. It's simply not in the same ballpark as that of the Vikings, and that was a big factor for Cousins, who will be 30 years old for the season and never has won a playoff game.
Still, the Jets had their shot. So did the other runners-up, the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals. Each team received an opportunity to present its case to McCartney, who was impressed with what the Jets had to say.
By rule, Cousins wasn't allowed to speak with teams until the start of the league year, 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, but he had done plenty of research. McCartney's office prepared an in-depth analysis of seven teams, covering everything from roster composition, recent drafts, front-office stability, etc. Cousins received the material before leaving for a vacation after the season.
When the legal tampering period began last Monday, each team was asked to present its best offer. McCartney wanted to simplify the process; he didn't want to turn it into a Sotheby's auction. The Jets offered a fully guaranteed contract, but it apparently wasn't their "best" offer because they later tried to sweeten it. They wanted him badly, and they were willing to engage in a bidding war.
Now we're getting into a gray area. Did they make a mistake by not bringing their best offer from the outset or did they get an unfair shake from the Cousins camp? It's a he-said, he-said situation. Understandably, both sides have their own take. Chances are, the Jets would've lost anyway because of the roster factor and because Cousins liked the idea of returning to the Midwest, where he grew up (Michigan) and played his college ball (Michigan State).
For what it's worth, the Jets made the final two. As noted by TheMMQB.com, Cousins' wife, Julie, purchased two ties for Kirk in preparation for his introductory news conference -- a purple-and-yellow striped tie and a green tie. The latter never saw the light of day.
Maybe he can wear it to a Michigan State reunion or next St. Patrick's Day.
2. Join the club: It happens to almost every Jets general manager. At some point, he feels compelled to make a huge move to trade up in the draft for a specific player or position. Saturday's trade with the Indianapolis Colts marked the fourth time in the common draft era (since 1967) the Jets have traded up into the top five. By the way, that's a league high.
Two of Mike Maccagnan's recent predecessors made similar jumps.
In 2009, Mike Tannenbaum moved up to No. 5 overall to select quarterback Mark Sanchez.
In 2003, Terry Bradway jumped to No. 4 for defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson.
If you go way, way back to 1981, Jim Kensil traded up to No. 2 for wide receiver Lam Jones.
Combined Pro Bowls for Sanchez, Robertson and Jones: Zero.
3. Rationalizing the compensation: If you're bummed that the Jets traded three second-round picks (two this year, one next year), look at it this way:
They acquired the 49th pick in the Sheldon Richardson trade. You can look at that as a freebie because they had no intention of re-signing Richardson if they had kept him. As for next year, if they're hellbent on recouping their second-rounder, they can always trade down in the first round to acquire extra capital.
The bottom line is, no one will remember what they surrendered if the yield is a quality quarterback. Now it's on Maccagnan to pick the right guy.
4. Re-visiting the Sheldon Richardson trade: It was a good deal for the Jets at the time, and it keeps getting better. Some people assumed the Jets would've received a third-round compensatory pick if they had let Richardson play out his contract, but we now know that wouldn't have been the case.
Despite a solid year with the Seattle Seahawks, Richardson didn't get the free-agent love he anticipated, settling for a one-year, $8 million contract with the Vikings. The compensatory formula is based, in part, on the amount of the contract -- and there's no way this deal will yield a third-round comp pick.
The Jets made the right call by unloading Richardson when they did. Anybody who doesn't see that is misguided.
5. Terrible Twos: Longtime, cynical Jets fans (is there another kind?) are well aware of the team's awful history of drafting in the second round. The last second-round pick to make the Pro Bowl on offense or defense was defensive end Mark Gastineau (1979 draft). They've had a couple of good ones (most recently David Harris, 2007), but we're talking about mostly busts. Obviously, they're hoping Marcus Maye can break the trend.
So who needs a bunch of second-round picks, right?
6. Trader Mike: It goes without saying this was a legacy-defining move for Maccagnan, who put his reputation on the line by trading up. When he arrived in 2015, the only notable quarterback on the roster was Geno Smith. He cycled through Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg and Josh McCown (current starter), waiting for the right time to make the big, bold move for a permanent solution. After missing on Cousins, he decided to make The Trade.
One way or the other, St. Patrick's Day 2018 will be remembered as one of the key dates in Jets history.