FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Josh McCown is 38 years old and was brought in to be a one-year bridge to whoever becomes the Jets quarterback of the future.
But Mike Maccagnan wouldn't rule out McCown returning as the Jets starter in 2018 at the age of 39.
What once seemed like a ridiculous notion can no longer be easily dismissed -- and it wasn't by the Jets GM in his annual midseason interview with the media. Maccagnan wouldn't commit to anything with any of the quarterbacks on his roster, but he had high praise for McCown as a player and as a person. And he definitely left the door open for a return next year.
"Josh has done a very good job for us, and not only on the field as a player but also what he's brought to the organization," Maccagnan said. "We thought about that when we made the decision to go out there and actively pursue and sign him. He's fulfilled all our expectations of the potential we thought we had in him."
Asked specifically about the possibility of McCown returning next season, Maccagnan deflected the question by saying "We're just midway thorugh this season. We'll see how the rest of this season plays itself out. But again, I can only speak very highly of what Josh has brought to this organization not only as a player, but as a person."
The idea that McCown could re-sign with the Jets throws an interesting twist into an already confounding quarterback situation. McCown has exceeded expectations, completing 70.4 percent of his passes for 1,980 yards, with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while leading the surprising Jets to a 4-5 record and the edge of playoff contention. But he was only supposed to be a bridge to Christian Hackenberg, the Jets' second-round pick from 2016 who is now 25 games into his NFL career and has yet to see the field.
It's impossible to know what bringing a 39-year-old McCown back in 2018 would do to the Jets' quarterback plans, especially considering they have to decide whether to take another quarterback in the supposedly quarterback-rich 2018 draft. Such a move would also look eerily familiar to Jets fans who saw the franchise get seduced by a brilliant season by journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2015, only to re-sign him and watch him fall apart last year.
McCown replaced Fitzpatrick last offseason, signing a one-year, $5 million contract with incentives that could add another $7 million in value. Presumably the cost would be similar for the Jets next season. They have other options to consider, of course, including the deeper end of the free agent market where current Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins could be the big prize.
For now, though, Maccagnan wasn't ruling anything out.
"I think the one thing going forward, we're going to look at every position at the conclusion of the season," he said. "We still have seen games left to play. We'll see how this all plays out. And we'll identify every position to try and make it as competitive as possible. I want to keep this in perspective. We're just nine games into the season. We still have almost half a season left to play. That stuff will play itself out."