Break out the white tape!
Get that marker ready!
Because the Factory of Sadness is about to undergo yet another minor change to its official uniform.
No, I'm not talking about the Cleveland Browns' new logo. I mean the monument to misery that is this jersey:
(And that's not even accurate—add Connor Shaw to the list.)
That long list of lousy quarterbacks the Browns have trotted out since their reincarnation in 1999 just got a little longer. As reported by agent Mike McCartney, free agent quarterback Josh McCown has agreed to terms with the Browns:
Per Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports, the 35-year-old quarterback signed a three-year deal with the team:
McCown, who threw for 2,206 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, had met with both the Browns and Buffalo Bills over the past week, as reported by Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News. The Bills were generally thought to have the inside track, but McCown will continue his NFL career at the other end of Lake Erie.
(You dodged a bullet, Buffalo.)
Simply put, if this is the Browns' idea of getting better for 2015, then it's going to be another very long season in Cleveland.
(Get ready for more of that, Northern Ohio.)
McCown was already eligible to negotiate with teams because he was cut by the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay released McCown because he was awful in his lone season with the franchise. McCown parlayed a miracle run for the Bears in 2013 (13 touchdowns and only one interception in eight games) into a nice contract in Tampa.
However, it wasn't long before the Bucs figured 2013 was a fluke, borne of Marc Trestman's offense in Chicago. And outside that one eight-game run, Josh McCown just isn't very good.
|Josh McCown Career Comparison|
|Year(s)||Comp. %||PYPG||TD||INT||Rating||Win %|
Last year, McCown's passer rating was down by nearly 40 points from 2013. His yards per attempt dropped by a yard-and-a-half. His turnovers were up from two in 2013 to 18 in 2014.
Oh, and McCown was 1-10 as Tampa's quarterback last year.
(Hard to believe Buffalo let him get away, huh?)
Now McCown will be dropped into a situation that may well be even worse than last year. You can argue that Cleveland has a better offensive line than Tampa (easily). But you couldn't make that argument where skill-position talent is concerned. The Browns don't really have any skill-position talent, especially with Josh Gordon suspended and tight end Jordan Cameron set to bolt in free agency.
(Can't you just feel the odds of McCown being successful in Cleveland going up? I know I can.)
It isn't just the impact that McCown will make on the field (and given how Johnny Manziel played last year, McCown is going to see the field) that should leave Cleveland's long-suffering fanbase shaking their heads on Friday.
(It's a movement they're familiar with, to the point of whiplash.)
As Albert Breer of NFL.com reported, the McCown signing all but sticks a fork in Brian Hoyer's time in Cleveland:
Granted, Hoyer isn't exactly Tom Brady himself, and Hoyer may well have told the Browns he's moving on in free agency, just as Cameron did according to Jason La Canfora (h/t Pro Football Talk).
Even so, in going from Hoyer, Manziel and Connor Shaw to McCown, Manziel and Shaw, the Browns have accomplished what some would consider impossible.
They took arguably the worst quarterback situation in the National Football League and made it worse.
Entering the offseason, with the sting of last year's second-half meltdown and 43rd (approximately) straight last-place finish in the AFC North still fresh, fans pointed to the Browns' $50 million free-agent war chest as a ray of hope.
"We'll be better next year," they said. They probably didn't believe it, but they said it.
However, if the Browns' first big purchase of free agency is any indication, fans would be better served if general manager Ray "I'll Text You Later" Farmer and team owner Jimmy "Scratch-and-Dent Jerry Jones" Haslam spent that $50 million on tanker trucks filled with bourbon.
Because watching McCown play, those fans are going to need it.
Gary Davenport is an NFL Analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPManor.