Kirk Cousins‘ agent had his staff do research on seven teams leading up to his client’s historic opportunity, and the quarterback had narrowed his list down to four finalists entering the week.
The Vikings, Jets, Broncos and Cardinals were the official final four, Jenny Vrentas of TheMMQB.com reports. But by Monday, the Broncos pivoted to Case Keenum, and Vrentas adds the Cardinals were out by Monday night. However, the Jets — as the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta reported — were in the mix until Tuesday.
Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports the Jets finished second in this race and indeed also offered Cousins a fully guaranteed deal — three years and $90MM — and were ready to go punch for punch with the Vikings if they had to. Gang Green even sweetened its initial offer for the 29-year-old passer, but he ended up choosing a Minnesota path instead.
“The Jets were terrific,” Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, told Cimini. “I have a lot of respect for Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles and their staffs. 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.”
Each of the four finalists had a chance to present cases to McCartney, Cimini reports, but Cousins’ camp — per Vrentas — called the Jets on Tuesday morning and informed them the seventh-year quarterback was planning to visit the Vikings first. That apparently was enough to convince the AFC East franchise it wasn’t going to win this race.
The Jets then moved on to their Josh McCown/Teddy Bridgewater backup plan, and Maccagnan has now made a trade to vault from No. 6 to No. 3. The Jets leapfrog the Broncos, who may now be less inclined to take a quarterback at No. 5, and are in position to outflank the Bills. Buffalo is targeting a top-five pick for a quarterback.