AJ McCarron, Keenum among QB consolation prizes

Kirk Cousins is about to make one quarterback-needy team extremely happy come Wednesday's official launch into free agency.

What becomes of those other clubs, though, who fail to land the former Redskins starter?

Here's what we learned Monday about a handful of developing Plan B options under center:

New York Jets: If Gang Green's big-money pitch for Cousins falls short, NFL Network's Kimberly Jones listed Case Keenum and Josh McCown as potential backup plans for the Jets. While Keenum views himself as bona fide starter -- and reportedly will seek $16 to $18 million annually -- McCown would serve as a low-cost bridge option if New York decides to pull the trigger on one of the draft's top-rated rookie passers. McCown played admirably in Florham Park a year ago, but New York's long-suffering fan base wants a long-term answer. Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan is under tremendous pressure to play his cards right.

Minnesota Vikings: Minnesota remains "in the driver's seat" for Cousins, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The franchise is spreading a wide net, though, with NFL Network's Tom Pelissero revealing that the Vikings have also inquired about the availability of Drew Brees. The Saints are all but expected to re-sign their 39-year-old star passer, but as negotiations rage on, Rapoport noted "there are definitely other teams interested." Intriguing stuff, but chalk it up as the biggest stunner of the offseason if Brees winds up anywhere but The Big Easy.

Denver Broncos: Keenum would make sense in Denver, too, if Cousins falls out of the picture for football czar John Elway. Rapoport also listed former Bengals backup AJ McCarron as a name to watch for the Broncos. There's a legitimate link here as Denver's second-year coach, Vance Joseph, knows McCarron well from their time together in Cincinnati.

Buffalo Bills: After trading Tyrod Taylor to the Browns, the Bills are in the market for veteran help. Ex-Vikings arm Sam Bradford stands out as a candidate for Buffalo, while Keenum also could emerge as a target in Western New York, per Pelissero. The Bills also loom as a major player to chase down a rookie passer. Armed with the No. 12 and 22 picks in the draft following Monday's trade of left tackle Cordy Glenn to the Bengals, Buffalo has the requisite ammunition to climb into the top five come April.

Arizona Cardinals: Don't forget about the Cardinals, who believe they possess a secret weapon in their pursuit of Cousins:

Trading for Nick Foles? The Eagles aren't actively shopping their Super Bowl-winning backup. The team will listen to offers for Foles, but NFL Network's Mike Garafolo said on Free Agency Frenzy that he doesn't see the Eagles "coming off" their first-round asking price for Carson Wentz's understudy.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.