Lately, the market for one of the better free agent quarterbacks has appeared to be heating up. The Chicago Bears entered this offseason with both Jay Cutler and backup Josh McCown set to become free agents. Already, they allowed Cutler to cash in on a 7-year, $126 million deal.
McCown, on the other hand, could be in another uniform come the start of next season. Obviously, if he returns to the Bears, he will serve as the backup. This past week, there were rumblings about two potential teams that could bring him in to compete for a starting gig.
The first team, according to the New York Daily News, is the New York Jets. Apparently the Jets would like to light a fire under second-year quarterback Geno Smith by getting him some competition.
The second team involved in rumors, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have been tossed around recently as well. General manager Jason Licht has said he would like competition for his second-year quarterback as well. Mike Glennon is not guaranteed the job by any means, especially now that the Bucs are under new head coach Lovie Smith.
“There’s a lot of positions on our team that I’m sure Lovie would agree that we want to anoint as the starter,” Licht said in response to being asked whether Glennon is the starter. “We want competition for Mike.”
Of course, McCown’s familiarity with Smith should bring up a fair point as to why Tampa Bay could be interested in the quarterback.
For the Bears, this could be bad news. McCown is a 34-year old veteran who posted his best season as a pro last year after filling in for the injured Cutler. To have the same two quarterbacks for the second year in a row under head coach Marc Trestman would be a luxury for Chicago.
McCown grasped Trestman’s offense well, and because of it, he saw the most success he’s ever seen in 2013. After thinking about a possible retirement back in December, McCown backed off of that topic and has expressed a desire to stay in Chicago. If given the opportunity to start elsewhere, however, McCown may take the money and a chance to play.
The Bears need to begin executing a backup plan in case McCown leaves. This will especially impact their draft strategy, because, if Chicago finds a spot in the draft where they could snatch a quarterback at an appealing time, they just might have to do it. The fact of the matter is, though, the Bears don’t want to use a pick on anything non-defensive if they do not have to.
This situation will be something to monitor over the next couple of weeks. Free agency officially begins March 11th, and Chicago cannot offer a deal until then.