2014 NFL Free Agency: Josh McCown Has No Choice But to Stay With the Chicago Bears
Last season, it was by no accident that the Chicago Bears ended with the NFL’s number two overall offense. Chicago scored an average of 27.8 points per game, second to of course only the Denver Broncos, and there is one major reason why.
That reason, as most would guess, is due to the revitalization at the head coaching position. Marc Trestman came into Chicago as a quarterback guru; someone that general manager Phil Emery thought could fix starting quarterback Jay Cutler and turn him into the guy that he has had the potential to be for several years now.
After Cutler battled through two separate significant injuries in 2013, Trestman turned to his backup plan in 34-year old veteran Josh McCown.
All McCown did was step into the starting role and put up a career year, despite it coming unexpectedly as a backup. In 2013, McCown finished with a rating of 109.0, slaughtering his previous career-high of 74.9 set in 2005 with the Arizona Cardinals.
McCown’s 13 touchdowns last year were also a career high, which is impressive considering he only played in eight games total. His previous career-high in touchdowns came in 2004 when he played in 14 games, throwing for 11 scores.
It is no secret that McCown’s play under coach Trestman saved the Bears from what would have been an abysmal season otherwise. Looking at previous and more recent backups like Caleb Hanie and Todd Collins, it is safe to say Chicago would have been doomed with either of those guys under center, rather than McCown.
Now that McCown is heading for free agency, the question still remains where he winds up before the start of next season. Back in December, McCown publicly stated that he had contemplated retirement. However, he rescinded those words a few weeks later and apparently had changed his mind.
Looking at a few teams in need of a quarterback, there are absolutely no situations that would allow him to succeed in the manner he did a year ago. The Bears present one of the best offensive minds in the game at head coach in Trestman, two Pro Bowl wide receivers in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and a Pro Bowl running back in Matt Forte. Not to mention, Chicago’s offensive line finished as a top-5 unit in 2013.
Sure, McCown would return as a backup. What guy out there would give up a starting position to sit on the bench?
Here’s the reason why: If McCown wants to end up retiring at the top of his game, he will stay with the Bears. There isn’t much else out there for him quite like the situation he has in Chicago. The fans love him. The team loves him and has confidence in him. There is even a large group of folks who believed he could even be a starter for the next year or two if the Bears decided to let go of Cutler and pursue a future franchise quarterback.
Trestman has a system in which quarterbacks thrive, and McCown’s incredible year in 2013 is a testament to that. Out of the few franchises who may bring him in to compete as a starter, there are no situations that could be more ideal than the one he may return to in Chicago.
If McCown is smart, he will realize what he has in his position with the Bears. Of course, the organization has many priorities this offseason — namely, fixing that defense. However, if they choose to extend an offer to McCown, he would be foolish not to accept.