Josh McCown was one of the key names the Chicago Bears knew they had to focus on heading into 2014. However, as free agency revs up it’s becoming clear they may have to plan for life without him.
New York Jets like not only NFL team vying for veteran quarterback
Despite being 35-years old, McCown is coming off the best season he’s ever had as a pro, posting 1,800 passing yard, 14 total touchdowns and just one interception in relief of Jay Cutler for the Bears. Such a showing was certain to draw interest from other teams who might be looking for short-term starting options as they look to groom a youngster. Not surprisingly it didn’t take long for word to leak out that the New York Jets are on the list of those teams with interest. They still aren’t completely sold on the ability of Geno Smith to be their long-term guy. Bringing in McCown adds experience but more importantly competition to the equation. Smith managed to survive Mark Sanchez but that was a different situation. Make no mistake either. New York is probably not the only team eyeing the veteran. TampaBay and Oakland also may be looking for experienced options and have the money to spare while Chicago is flirting with the salary cap. In other words if McCown gets a generous offer to go elsewhere, it’s unlikely the Bears will be able to match.
A.J. McCarron and Stephen Morris offer great project options
If that is the case then the need to find a new backup option rises on the priority list for Chicago, and it’s most likely they will seek it out in the NFL draft. Ever since Marc Trestman took over last season the undercurrent has hinted at the need to draft a young developmental project for the “quarterback whisperer” as many call the Bears head coach. Indeed his success at the position warrants attention in May. However, given the far more pressing need to rebuild the defense will force the team to wait until at least the middle rounds before they can consider finding a project for Trestman. If they are feeling rather aggressive they could pursue A.J. McCarron who likely won’t last beyond the third round. The Alabama senior is smart, competitive, deceptively athletic with a good enough arm and the confidence to use it. Or they could wait a little later and take a chance on somebody with physical upside. A prime candidate is Stephen Morris out of Miami. Physically he has the tool from the arm strength to the mobility and athleticism. His issues lay with sporadic accuracy and inconsistent timing or rhythm. Experts agree he has potential but need more polish and coaching, which is exactly what Trestman would provide.
The Chicago Bears don’t want to see Josh McCown go, but if he does they must make sure to have a contingency option ready.