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Jets interest in Kirk Cousins could shake up 1st round of NFL Draft

The 49ers want as many teams as possible to take quarterbacks before they get around to picking in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The New York Jets are expected to be among the teams interested in acquiring the services of quarterback Kirk Cousins, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Cousins, 29, is in the extremely rare position of being a high-level quarterback set to hit the open market with no threat of being hit with the franchise tag.

That is, of course, because Washington traded for Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday evening. Smith also got a mammoth contract extension, which is good news for Cousins, who will be demanding franchise quarterback money on the open market.

And New York might be willing to pay it. This is potentially bad news for the San Francisco 49ers because the Jets pick ahead of them in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The 49ers want as many quarterbacks as possible to go before they pick at either ninth or 10th overall, so any team that fills that need in free agency likely won’t go that route in the top 10 of the draft.

When we wrote about the Jets and their draft needs last week, we noted that quarterback was the biggest need, but that some of their other needs could line up with the 49ers. Specifically, the Jets could be in the market for an edge rusher, an outside linebacker or running back in the first round — all positions that could conceivably be addressed by the 49ers as well.

Cousins was also linked to the 49ers for much of last season, as Kyle Shanahan was a fan of his ability. But when the 49ers acquired Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade with the New England Patriots, 49ers fans quickly forgot about Cousins. Both quarterbacks are expected to get massive contracts this offseason.

Cousins completed 64.3 percent of his passes for 4,093 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 touchdowns in 16 games with Washington last season. He has been with Washington since they drafted him with the 102nd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.