Look at these numbers: 1,809 yards, 13 touchdowns, one interception, 66.8 completion percentage, 109.8 passer rating, all in seven games. After reading those stats, you’re probably saying, “Wow! That’s pretty impressive! How could a guy playing like this not be the future of an NFL team?” And hey, you’re right, he’s playing some incredible football. And with impressive wins over NFC North rival Green Bay Packers, the reigning Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, and “America’s Team” Dallas Cowboys, you’d figure that Josh McCown is one of the league’s best quarterbacks as of late.
Whether that can be debated or not is a whole other conversation. What we are talking about right now is the future of the Chicago Bears interim quarterback for the injured Jay Cutler.
As the Bears are in the thick of things in the NFC North, the team is in a battle for a playoff spot come January. And certainly with McCown playing like he is coach Marc Trestman is in no rush to take him out of the lineup.
However, where things get tricky for the quarterback situation in Chicago is the future in the offseason and beyond. Cutler is an impeding free agent this offseason, and with his injury history this year and McCown’s play over the past few weeks, analysts are pondering the thought of letting their former franchise signal caller go and giving the team to the backup.
The key in all of this speculation is that of McCown’s past and his future in this league. May I remind you that this man was out of a job just last year, coaching high school football before getting a call from the Bears organization to back up Cutler in 2013.
McCown does not have a decorated career in the NFL as he has played for four organizations over his years in the NFL. Those stops include the Arizona Cardinals in his first four seasons that started in 2002, then the Oakland Raiders in 2007, the Carolina Panthers in 2008 and 2009, and then Chicago in 2011 and 2013. His numbers are anything but prolific, and this year could be a smokescreen as to what kind of player he really is.
This article is not to bash McCown by any means as what he has done this season for the Bears is nothing short of incredible, and he must be given credit where credit is due.
But when we look into his future as the signal caller for the Bears, it just isn’t realistic. McCown will be turning 35 this offseason, and what he is doing now at the age of 34 is simply amazing. But when looking into reality, players just can’t keep up with their prior success once they hit the wrong side of 30.
If the Bears disregard his age then the organization may get a year or two out of McCown in Trestman’s offense. And maybe that’s what they want instead of paying Cutler a big salary to stay long term. But if Chicago thinks they just found their franchise quarterback in McCown, forget it.