Josh McCown may be this year’s best free-agent quarterback


Here’s everything you need to know about how bad this year’s class of free-agent quarterbacks is: Josh McCown may be the best quarterback on the market.

McCown, who was cut by the Buccaneers on Wednesday, moves to the top of a list that may not have a single player on it who will be a Week One starter.

Mark Sanchez has generally been considered the top quarterback in this year’s class, which isn’t saying much. Sanchez was OK in Chip Kelly’s Eagles offense after Nick Foles went down last year, but Sanchez was a disaster at the end of his tenure with the Jets, and it’s hard to believe that any team would make him its starter this year.

Brian Hoyer has also shown promise at times, but if he couldn’t hold onto the starting job in Cleveland in 2014, is any team going to hand him its starting job in 2015? Hoyer’s best bet might be to return to Cleveland and try to win a training camp competition with Johnny Manziel.

Ryan Mallett might be the most talented free agent quarterback in this year’s class, but we have no idea if his arm talent really translates to being a good NFL quarterback. Mallett started just two games in Houston last season before a pectoral injury cut short his season.

Colt McCoy provided a bit of a spark in Washington last season and now becomes a free agent, but McCoy’s biggest accomplishment was being better than Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins. And that’s not much of an accomplishment.

Michael Vick is a free agent, but it’s been a long time since Vick looked like a franchise quarterback. He had a terrible 68.3 passer rating with the Jets last year.

Jake Locker, Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert all become free agents in March because all of them were first-round picks in 2011 and none of their fifth-year options were picked up. If the teams that drafted them don’t want them anymore, why would any other team?

Going through that list of quarterbacks, is there anyone you can say is definitely better than McCown? The fact that teams are showing interest says less about McCown than about the lack of good quarterbacks available.

101 responses to “Josh McCown may be this year’s best free-agent quarterback

  1. Which is very bad news if you are in the FA quarterback market. I’d take my chances on Mallett or Hoyer over McCown.

  2. I’m sure that the Bucs will sign him in a few days to a three year/30 million fully guaranteed contract.

  3. Oh give it a rest. Last year’s class was equally as bad. There’s a reason players like these guys are free agents to begin with. Seldom do you get a guy like Peyton or Drew Brees to become free.

  4. Mark Sanchez – 3-4 record this season.

    Nick Foles – 7-2 record this season.

    Tell me again how Sanchez did ok in Chip Kellys offense? I dont want that butt fumbler to come back. I would rather have McCown or Locker.

  5. Out of the bunch, I’d still take Sanchez. He’s not too turnover crazy, and he won’t lose you games. Put him in a run-friendly offense, and he can win games.

  6. ouch!

    I’d rather take a chance on Mallett or maybe Locker before McCown. At least they have some upside.

  7. I’m actually pretty sure he’s not.

    That being said… what a dreadful class of free agents. At least 3 or 4 of those guys literally should not even be in the league.

  8. Its funny how many of these QBs were “Cant miss” prospects according to MENSA members Mcshay, Mayock and Kiper…If most of us were as wrong at our jobs as these three seem to be at theirs we’d all be unemployed..It blows my mind how these people are taken seriously? Mayock thought Burfict couldnt play?! Kiper loved JRussell, Mcshay annually demonstrates why he was the valedictorian of his SPED class with his mock drafts and general comments about upcoming prospects..abysmal!

    Go Pats!

  9. I know I’m going to take a lot of heat for this, but there is another Josh on the market… Freeman. He’s only 26 or 27, plenty of talent and has been working tremendously hard with anyone and everyone he can these last few months. He was the victim of a sloppy regime notorious in league circles for scapegoating and back-stabbing, and he deserves another chance. Keep the faith #5.

  10. I think it all started to go down hill in Chiacago for Trestman when he bench McCown right before the playoffs in 2013. He blew it and the players knew it.

  11. There are other options that are not yet free agents but will most likely be soon enough. The Dolphins Matt Moore is a likely cap casualty and Rams Sam Bradford will probably need to renegotiate or be cut. I’m sure there are others as well.

  12. I know where Mark Sanchez is going. You know where Mark Sanchez is going. Why play these games when we could just be honest with each other? Don’t we owe ourselves that?

  13. When are there ever good free agent quarterbacks? If you have a good quarterback, you don’t let him become a free agent. I remember one year when Matt Flynn was the big free agent prize.

  14. REALLY???? Josh McCown???? Vick is the BEST of this group; he played on a QB killing team, Sanchez a year removed has proved that (best of this group-your words). Vick in the right situation brings you an intangible-leadership and a tangible-quality skills. This is all prefaced on the ability of Vick to land in that right situation; and none of them are spelled: cleveland, NY (either team), buffalo, Chicago, philly, just to name a few. But these teams won’t benefit from any of the free agents or they from them.

  15. This is exactly why Pats fans were freaking out in Week 4. Think about going from Tom Brady to any of the above. It’s like going from drinking a fine Bordeaux to Boones

  16. That is a truly brutal list. Sometimes you get a workable journeyman, like the Steelers with Batch. Most of the time its someone you draft and hope.

    I would think Cousins and McCoy have the most upside on that list.

  17. I dig that 25 year old Austin Davis from rams, not greatest numbers, 12- 9 td/int ratio, 2,001 yards and 85.1 qbr in 10 games. He played vs some solid defences with lack of weapons, and managed a 133 qbr when Rams beat seattle.

  18. I’d take a chance on Colt McCoy if I had to. Cleveland pretty much ruined him, and he actually looked good in the games he played for Washington. Film doesn’t lie.

  19. I like Locker, if only he could stay healthy. He can make plays. People like to talk about his accuracy but John Elway was never one of the most accurate either. The reason Locker’s accuracy hurts so much is because he only gets 1 down every 3 downs to throw the ball. Put him on a team with a good offensive line and a little more aggressive, he can be very effective. He has shown the potential. He also doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. I think there is talent there to win with, he just needs to stay healthy and needs a competent team to play for.

  20. McCown is a low-grade journeyman QB for a reason. He wouldn’t have been on the street if he had anything. He used a couple of games with the Bears throwing to a talented group of receivers (RB/WR/TEs) against some not too tough Ds to earn a contract from a desperate team.

    I’d take Mallet, Gabbert, Locker and even noodle-arm Ponder over him.

  21. This just proves how hard it is to find a qb in this league. Say what you want about guys like Dalton Kaep and Tannehill but they’re probably right in the middle of the pack and at least provide their teams with respectable games. 100 million is just going to be the going rate for any kind of guy that can provide some stability at the position.

  22. I seem to remember a lot of people on this very site jumping on the Josh McCown bandwagon last year and claiming that the Bears should let Cutler walk and make McCown the starter.

    It sounded really dumb then too.

  23. If Bradford doesn’t work out, the Rams should give Mallet a whirl (if he is fully recovered).

  24. If I’m a team like the Jets or Browns I’d give Locker a look. Shown more talent than anyone on this list, just not healthy enough.

    But I’d also scold myself for letting my team become like the Jets or Browns.

  25. Now you know why teams are ready to break the bank to sign elite or even 2nd tier QBs. When you need a QB, and this group of free agent QBs are your only options, you better be prepared for another mediocre/ losing season.

  26. McCoy is easily the best of that group. It wouldn’t be much of an accomplishment for him to beat out McCown or Sanchez, either.

    Did Hoyer lose his job, or was Cleveland just trying to justify a first round pick?

    And maybe teams feel that dysfunctional organizations can’t train a QB properly.

  27. Remember when Mark Sánchez and Mike Vick were considered elite? Now they are considered garbage. I can’t help but think about how fans make claims about some of Todays quarterbacks. 5 years from now, a couple guys who fans think are elite will be on the list of free agents no one really wants. By then there will be a couple more quarterbacks that fans will be calling elite when they are not.

  28. Sanchez struck gold with his oppotunity with Philly last year…He played really well at times, but because of the extended action he saw, some of his flaws came back to the fold, ie Arm Stregth, Pocket Toughness/Presence and short game accuracy at times. With How Sanchez played in December, he ultimately solidified himself as a career backup and if I were him, I would be begging to stay in Philly, because it is the most QB friendly system fit for him it looks like.

  29. The read-option craze in college over the last few years has reduced the flow of pro-ready QBs to barely a trickle, and here is your result.

  30. If the Raiders don’t re-work his contract and cut Matt Schaub he will instantly become one of the top 3-5 free agent QB’s.

    That’s just sad.

  31. Some GMs are worse at managing their teams than these QBs at throwing the ball. That’s why there are teams that can’t establish a starting QB no matter who they draft.

  32. Mark Sanchez took the Jets into two (2) AFC Championship games. Then the Jets imploded due to salary cap issues and unloaded some good players.

    Believe is or not sometimes NFL teams lose due to GM or Coaching decisions. That’s why they call football a team game.

  33. when Peerless Price was labeled a flop in Atlanta with only 60 catches no one took in consideration Vick was the QB and running for over 1000 yrds because he couldn’t read defenses and every pass play became a busted play now Sanchez is being blamed for debacle at NYJ after Ryan fired Shottenheimer and hired Sparano DumbArsess!!!!!

  34. Given the options, and given the turnover in the Browns front office, Cleveland ought to give Colt McCoy another look. Not saying they should sign him, but they ought to do their due diligence and consider him — given that the coach and front office McCoy played for are gone, and maybe the problem was with them and not him.

  35. Wiley16350 said:

    “I like Locker, if only he could stay healthy. He can make plays. People like to talk about his accuracy but John Elway was never one of the most accurate either. The reason Locker’s accuracy hurts so much is because he only gets 1 down every 3 downs to throw the ball. Put him on a team with a good offensive line and a little more aggressive, he can be very effective. He has shown the potential. He also doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. I think there is talent there to win with, he just needs to stay healthy and needs a competent team to play for.”

    Thank you. This is the most intelligent post I’ve read about Jake Locker in weeks. Given the coaching staffs (and personnel decisions) our team has had since he came in the league, I’m amazed Locker managed to show even the amount of promise he has.

    – Titans Fan

  36. Who would want Vick? He isn’t accurate; a turnover machine. He doesn’t have football intelligence, and he can’t stay healthy. Someone on this thread said he is a leader – I want some of what you’re smoking.

    Gabbert will be out of the league in a year – absolutely zero pocket presence.

    Locker looks to be the best option of the group.

  37. The Mike says:Feb 12, 2015 11:30 AM

    I also like the idea of Locker backing up Kaepernick in SF, could fill in in that offense.


    Locker would beat out Kaepernick in an open competition. It wouldn’t even be close.

  38. promickey says:
    Feb 12, 2015 12:07 PM

    Mark Sanchez took the Jets into two (2) AFC Championship games.


    Trent Differ has a super bowl ring.

    Sánchez getting to two AFCCC came on the back of the defense. Same as Differ, same as Wilson, same as Kaepernick. The list is longer, but the reality is the same. A good defense can make an average quarterback appear elite.

  39. Love reading the comments on here about all the scrub QB’s for these scrub teams. This guy is the best option available in free agency? This is why College Football is way more entertaining than the NFL. Everyone says there is parity in the NFL. Yeah, you know why? Only a handful of teams have good quarterbacks and there is a dearth of quality coming into the league. Sure an occasional team with a game manager type may sneak into the playoffs but they very rarely win. So keep making the NFL rich and wasting your time on this sub-par product every fall.

  40. The FA quarterback class is bad every single year – I don’t get why the media continues to harp on this specific class. This year might even be better than years past as there are multiple guys with significant starting experience under their belts. Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are just about the only two exceptions to this and they both had enormous questions about their health.

  41. Sanchez played a big part in the Jets second run to the AFC title game it wasn’t just the defense and running game,He made some seriously clutch drives to win games that year.The following year I think it was 2012 he put up his best numbers yet,Then a change in OCs and having his WR core blown up to where Chaz Shcienlz and Clyde Gates were his best options …..I really don’t know if you can blame Sanchez for his lack of production with the worst WR core in NFL history

  42. Ummm, no. McCown is brutal. He’s a career back up for a reason. What Lovie Smith was thinking, no one will ever know. I’d say Hoyer has the most promise. He was pretty good in ’13 with Norv Turner until he got hurt. I can’t really take last year serious given that the Browns were a complete dysfunctional mess. Sanchez is probably = to McCown, but he’s way younger.

  43. Jim Miller on Sirius NFL Radio, stated today that Josh McCown is clearly the #1 QB in Free Agency and he expects him to excel wherever he lands.
    (He rated Sanchez #2 and Hoyer #3). He sees them all ascending as starters.
    How is it that these experienced football experts who played the game keep rolling out the guys who failed and in McCown’s case he effectively got fired by the Buccs for playing badly (Tampa went 2 – 14 last season).
    Not too many business scenarios where you fail hopelessly, get fired and still expect to get picked up and get paid $5M+ per annum.

  44. The Free Agent QB that nobody is talking about is Matt Moore from the Dolphins. He played well and won games on limited opportunities when he replaced Henne 4 years ago and has had no opportunities for the past 3 years since Tannehill was drafted. Tannehill has missed zero games since he arrived.
    Matt Moore is not on any team’s radar and he’s better than most of the guys being suggested and he will cost less.

  45. You all are sleeping on Matt Moore…I would take him over any of the other FA…I hope Miami doesn’t let him leave!!!

  46. You’ve got eight teams with QB issues (Bills, Jets, Browns, Titans, Bucs, Rams, Eagles and Redskins), two 1st round QB (maybe one more), I have to think at least one of these FAs is going to wind up a week one starter just out of desperation.

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