Late in the 2013 regular season, not long after Josh McCown had been benched despite being the reigning NFC offensive player of the week for a healthy Jay Cutler, McCown suggested he may call it quits after 2013. Now, someone close to McCown says the veteran will be back next season.
Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the 34-year-old McCown plans to return.
It’s unclear whether McCown will return to Chicago. Because he signed a one-year deal under the minimum-salary benefit in 2013, the Bears can’t sign him until he actually becomes a free agent on March 11. That now follows a three-day period during which McCown’s agent can engage in discussions with other teams.
With the Bears devoting $22.5 million in cap space to Cutler for the coming year, the Bears likely won’t have much in the budget for McCown. Any team that views him as a potential starter would surely outbid the Bears.
For teams looking to acquire a veteran quarterback via free agency, the options aren’t plentiful. Beyond McCown, the looming free agents include Michael Vick, Josh Freeman, Chad Henne, and Josh’s brother, Luke. Other veteran quarterbacks (like Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden) could be available via trade, or could be released.
Perhaps the most intriguing option for Josh McCown would be the Vikings. Barely a decade ago, McCown knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs with a last-gasp throw to the end zone in Arizona. Under current rules, which no longer acknowledge the “force-out” call, the throw to Nate Poole would have been ruled incomplete.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, they know all too much about incomplete passes in recent years.