While the Bucs make the most sense as the favorite, both Houston and the Jets are expected to invite McCown for early free-agent visits and stay competitive in the running to land him. The Texans clearly could offer McCown a starting opportunity as a "bridge quarterback,'' allowing them to bypass taking a quarterback at the top of the draft and select a defensive star like South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney or Buffalo's Khalil Mack. Houston would presumably then use its second-round pick -- No. 33 overall -- to take a future franchise quarterback (Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo?), giving him perhaps a season of grooming behind McCown.
From that perspective, both the Bucs and Jets would offer McCown the potential of longer-term starting chances, with neither Glennon or Smith having definitively proven they are clear-cut No. 1 quarterbacks. New York, especially, is in win-now mode, as coach Rex Ryan is again working in the second-to-last year of his contract and probably needs to snap his team's three-year playoff drought in order to return in 2015.
Update - 4:02 p.m.: McCown will visit Tampa, Houston and then the Jets (Rapoport, March 11).
We've discussed before that while we like McCown, the big issue was that until he was flopped into a Marc Trestman offense with Alshon Jeffrey, Brandon Marshall, Marty Bennett and Forte to throw to, he was a low-level backup. Now that he's padded those stats in one outlier season, he's seen as a more attractive option. Even if the Jets go out and draft a first round receiver and add through free agency they won't have an offense in 2014 that could equal what the Bears did in 2013.
We like McCown, but buyer beware.