The Daily News has learned that the Jets are eying Bears quarterback Josh McCown in free agency to provide a viable alternative in case Smith regresses. McCown, coming off an impressive season that included five starts in relief of an injured Jay Cutler, is expected to draw a fair amount of interest when free agency begins on March 11. The Jets, who are expected to release Mark Sanchez next month, believe McCown would be a quality backup.The report also reveals that a move for Michael Vick is unlikely and that Matt Schaub is not an option because he isn't interested in a backup role. There's also a suggestion that the release of Mark Sanchez is inevitable despite the fact multiple sources have reported that the Jets recently met with his representatives. That's apparently on the basis that John Idzik would have "little to gain" if Sanchez remained with the Jets and outperformed Smith.
The 6'4" McCown, who will be 35 by the start of training camp, is a true journeyman in the purest sense of the word. Since being drafted in the third round of the 2002 draft, McCown has been on seven different NFL rosters, starting a total of 38 games. Last season he posted a quarterback rating of 109.0 while throwing 13 touchdown passes and just one interception. However, that was the first time his quarterback rating at the end of the season was above 75.
The Bears were 3-2 in the five games McCown started and 0-3 in the other games where he saw action. However, he put up good numbers in a Bears' system which has some similarities to that of the Jets. At this stage of his career, McCown is a game manager type, no longer possessing the athleticism that was part of the reason he was drafted so high. However, that's arguably an ideal skill-set for a potential backup.
McCown played for the veteran's minimum last year, with a small signing bonus and a partial guarantee.
I like the idea of the Jets adding a player like McCown, it provides a borderline token competition with Geno Smith, but also allows for some teeth at the backup quarterback position.
In truth though, the teeth that McCown could provide off the bench are duller than we might expect. To Bent's point about McCown's time in Chicago, he had a high rating compared to his prior years in large part due to two things. First, McCown benefited from the dynamism of a Marc Trestman offense. Second, because McCown was throwing the ball to Alshon Jeffrey, Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte.