- The Washington Times - Monday, February 19, 2018

Quarterback Kirk Cousins has repeatedly said his free agency in March won’t boil down to just money. 

The New York Jets reportedly are willing to test Cousins‘ statements.

According to ESPN, the Jets are “willing to pay whatever it takes” to land Cousins this offseason. Free agency opens March 14. 

Cousins‘ next contract will likely make him the highest-paid player in NFL history, and the Jets have the cap space to make it so. The Jets have $73 million in cap space, fourth-highest in the NFL. Cousins has also said the amount of guaranteed money in his next deal will be very important. 

The Jets, though, will need to sell Cousins on the idea that New York is a place he could win. While they went 5-11 last season, the Jets actually exceeded expectations given the lack of perceived talent heading into the season. Jets receiver Robby Anderson emerged as a quality weapon, though his long-term future is suddenly in question after being charged with three felonies in January. 

The Jets changed offensive coordinators this offseason, hiring Mike Shanahan disciple Jeremy Bates. Cousins has also indicated he values familiarity and bringing in Bates could be a bonus. Bates wasn’t on Shanahan’s staff in Washington, but the two reportedly share many of the same philosophies. 

The Redskins, of course, could thwart Cousins from hitting the market, if they hand out the franchise tag for the third straight year with the intention of trading him. Teams can begin handing out the franchise tag Tuesday. 

But such a move is unlikely, given the risks. Cousins could tie up the Redskins’ cap room in free agency and will likely file a grievance if he’s tagged again. 

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