Once the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released quarterback Josh McCown last week, he immediately became a target for our series on potential free agents that could join the Buffalo Bills. What would have been our own speculation quickly became reality when McCown was spotted in Buffalo on Sunday night with Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
The reactions on Twitter and in the comments section of our recap were quite spirited, and McCown eventually left Buffalo without a contract. On Wednesday morning, multiple reports stated that McCown was scheduled to speak with the Bears (as noted here) and Browns, and a growing list of suitors that could include up to eight teams.
In looking at McCown's best performances, you can limit your search to his 2013 season with the Chicago Bears. Many fans will remember how McCown stepped in for Jay Cutler, finishing the season with 13 touchdowns to only one interception over the second half of the season. McCown finished 3-2 as a starter, leading the Bears to impressive victories over the Packers, Ravens and Cowboys. In his final three games as the starter, McCown averaged 351 yards per game, while completing over 72 percent of his passes.
Despite the fact that he was moved in and out of the starting lineup, McCown delivered statistically and in the win column down the stretch in Chicago. It would have been interesting to see how the Bears' front office handled McCown in 2014 had they not been burdened with Jay Cutler's seven-year, $126.7 million contract.
If I were trying to get cute here, I could just type "everything except 2013" - and I wouldn't be that far off. McCown is on the verge of signing with his ninth NFL club over the past 13 years. He has been a member of the Cardinals, Raiders, Lions, Bears, Buccaneers, Panthers, 49ers, and Dolphins organizations, and has failed to stick with any of these clubs.
With so many NFL franchises desperate to find starting-caliber quarterbacks, it is not tough to argue that 2013 was an anomaly in McCown's career.
If anyone should be happy about the potential signing of McCown, it's EJ Manuel. While the success in limited starts in the 2013 season was impressive, I am hard-pressed to say that McCown would be a better free agent option than Jake Locker, Mark Sanchez, or Brian Hoyer.
What McCown does offer is a veteran option should Manuel get injured, but not necessarily an option that would push him for the starting position.