There's no shortage of storylines when it comes to the long-term situation at quarterback, which brings us to our New York Jets question of the week:
If the Jets some how finish with 5 or 6 wins. Do they trade for the 1st pick or do they try to sign a QB free agent #jetsmail
— Zorik Ledven (@zledven) October 6, 2017
@RichCimini: No matter which avenue they choose, it will cost them a lot. We're talking about draft picks or big money -- or both if they trade for a veteran, which I think is a realistic scenario. Let's take a closer look at the options:
Trading up: Five or six wins would put the Jets (2-2) somewhere in the 5-10 range in the draft, which would require a mortgage-the-future type of investment to get to No. 1. They'd probably have to give up two first-rounders (2018 and 2019), along with one or both of their second-round picks in 2018. It's an odd dynamic, but every win this season costs them down the road. Obviously, it would take a strong conviction about one of the 2018 class of college quarterbacks to make this kind of move. Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen aren't having sensational years, but a lot could change over the next few months.
Free agency: For a change, the pool of quarterbacks is impressive -- Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees and Jimmy Garoppolo are among the biggest names. Of course, the landscape will look a lot different if Cousins and Garoppolo get tagged or re-sign with their current teams. Brees has a clause in his contract that prohibits the New Orleans Saints from using the franchise tag on him. He's still playing at a very high level, but he'll be 39 next season. The Jets tried that a decade ago with Brett Favre, and it didn't work.
Trade: This makes the most sense to me, and the player I'm watching is Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs. With rookie Patrick Mahomes waiting in the wings, Smith could be a goner in 2018. Schematically, he'd be an ideal fit in John Morton's short-passing attack. Speaking of Morton, the Jets' offensive coordinator was on the San Francisco 49ers' staff for two of Smith's eight years on the team, so there's a connection. Smith will be 34 next season, meaning he should have a few good years left.
Now come the two hard parts: compensation and finances. The Jets would have to surrender at least one of their second-round picks, and they'd want to sign Smith to a long-term extension because he'll be a free agent in 2019. These aren't insignificant hurdles.
There's also the obvious question: Would the Chiefs really send Smith packing if he continues to have an MVP-caliber season? Tough call. It would be hard to say goodbye if Smith leads them to the Super Bowl. What we do know is that he has a $20.6 million cap charge in 2018, and they can recoup $17 million by dealing him.
As I said, the Jets will have multiple options after the season if they don't land the first or second pick, but they'll have to pay -- big time. Winning never has been so costly.