Mike Maccagnan wouldn't say if Josh McCown will be the Jets' starting quarterback this season - that, he insisted, is a decision for coach Todd Bowles. But he did say that McCown can still be a good quarterback, even as he closes in on 38 years old.
"I know he's had some injuries this past season, but the season before he played and actually did some good things for Cleveland," Maccagnan said on a conference call with reporters on Friday. "I still think he has good football left in him. We do think he has the ability to play and perform if needed."
The Jets signed McCown to a one-year, $6 million contract last week, with another possible (but unlikely) $7 million in incentives. Maccagnan said that the 15-year vet - a journeyman now on his eighth NFL team - was under consideration from the start of free agency, even as the Jets sorted through all their other options.
McCown, who turns 38 in July, isn't an ideal starter, but he does fit the mold of a bridge to the Jets' young quarterbacks - Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty, or even a new one from this year's draft. But the reality is if none of them are ready, McCown will have to start.
And his recent performances have been very up and down. He started only three games (and played five) for the Browns last season, completing just 54.5 percent of his passes for 1,100 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions. But in 2015 he was outstanding for half a season, completing 63.7 percent of his passes for 2,109 yards with 12 touchdowns and just four interceptions in eight games.
The year before that he wasn't good in 11 starts for Tampa (11 touchdowns, 14 interceptions). But the year before that he was strong in five starts (eight games) with Chicago (13 touchdowns, just one interception).
"We know what his strengths are," Maccagnan said. "We think he's a very good veteran, from a leadership standpoint, to add to our group. We still think he has the ability to play and perform on the field, from a talent standpoint. I think Josh fit from a system standpoint, kind of what we do."
He also fit what the Jets want - which is a veteran who won't be opposed to teaching young players and possibly moving aside when they're ready to play.
"I think Josh understood the situation that we had, with two young quarterbacks, and we like their upside," Maccagnan said. "He's been in the league for a long time, so he understands how different teams are set up, and the situation he's going to potentially walk into."