Updates from Wednesday, Mar. 12
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has the latest on Josh McCown's free agency:
Josh McCown agrees to a 2 yr deal with Tampa per his agent, Mike McCartney. Will have real chance to compete for that job— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 12, 2014
Journeyman quarterback Josh McCown emerged from out of nowhere last season and enjoyed the greatest success of his career. That naturally figures to make him a hot commodity on the free-agent market.
McCown received opportunities to start earlier in his career with the Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders, but he never looked like anything other than a mediocre signal-caller. Things finally came together for McCown in 2013, however, as he played spectacular football for the Chicago Bears when Jay Cutler went down with an injury.
In eight appearances, McCown threw 13 touchdowns to just one interception and garnered a fantastic 85.1 in ESPN's QBR metric. He shined under head coach Marc Trestman, and there is no doubt that the presence of offensive weapons such as Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery helped immensely as well.
The Bears are the perfect fit for McCown in terms of system and the talent around him, but there is no avenue for playing time after the re-signing of Jay Cutler.
McCown would admittedly love to stay in Chicago, but the 34-year-old veteran recognizes that he has a chance to earn a potentially big contract elsewhere, according to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune (subscription required).
It's hard to want to be anywhere else. But the balance of that, too, is our reality. This is probably going to be the last time I stand in free agency with this kind of leverage. So there's an understanding of an opportunity here to gain some more resources both to take care of our family and to do more good with.
Many believed that McCown would return to the Bears regardless, but NFL Network's Ian Rapoport doesn't think that Chicago is working hard to make that happen:
Which team will McCown ultimately sign with?
One team that could potentially make a run at McCown is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs seem content to go with Mike Glennon as their starter under center after a solid rookie campaign, but they could use some insurance.
Per Rapoport, Tampa will look to sign a backup signal-caller, and McCown is on the wish list:
While McCown would obviously prefer to be a starter, the Buccaneers would still make sense from his perspective. Glennon is far from entrenched, so McCown could easily overtake him in the event of poor play early in the season.
The New York Jets are another team worth keeping an eye on. Geno Smith will probably be given an opportunity to improve upon his rookie year, but he looked awful at times and is on shaky ground to say the least with head coach Rex Ryan trying to protect his job.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports, however, Gang Green may not be willing to shell out the cash necessary to get a guy like McCown:
Perhaps McCown's best chance to start in 2014 would be for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The combination of Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert hasn't gotten the job done, and McCown could be a great stopgap assuming that the Jags don't draft a quarterback in the first round.
Rapoport previously reported that Jacksonville will explore the possibility of signing McCown as well as Michael Vick:
If nothing else, it can be said that McCown has no shortage of options, even if the Jaguars seems an unlikely destination having re-signed Chad Henne on Friday, per Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. There are no guarantees in terms of landing a starting job in 2014, but he could potentially ascend to that level with the Bucs, Jets or Jaguars provided things break his way.
Re-signing with the Bears could turn out to be the best possible move for McCown considering Cutler's injury history, but Chicago is going to sink or swim with Cutler after signing him to such a huge deal.
The quarterback free-agent market is extremely weak and while the 2014 draft class is seemingly stacked with intriguing quarterback talent, McCown finds himself in an advantageous position.
He and his agent are well aware of the fact, so expect McCown to sit back and analyze the league-wide quarterback situation before making a decision.
Whatever the case, McCown should be in embroiled in a battle for a starting role at the very least during the upcoming season.
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