One of the Chicago Bears‘ biggest priorities this offseason is to lure free agent quarterback Josh McCown back to the Windy City. McCown became a fan favorite last season once he took over for an injury plagued Jay Cutler and produced his best statistical season as a pro, despite only playing a total of eight games.
In 2013, McCown finished with a passer rating of 109.0, demolishing his previous career-high of 74.9 set in 2005 with the Arizona Cardinals. McCown’s 13 touchdowns last season was also a career-high despite only playing half a season. His previous career-high came in 2004 when he played in 14 games, passing for 11 scores. More impressively, McCown did all this while leading the Bears offense to an average of 27.8 points per game, second only to the record shattering-offense of the Denver Broncos.
McCown’s play was so astounding that Bears fans questioned head coach Marc Trestman’s decision to insert Cutler back into the starting lineup, because of how effective McCown ran the offense. With all this being said, it’s hard to imagine that McCown would be able to match last year’s season, let alone exceed it.
The 12-year veteran will turn 35 before the start of next season and has hinted at retirement, although he has since leaned towards playing next season. McCown said he would love to play near his wife and four children in North Carolina, which will make it harder for the Bears to re-sign him and if they do, is it realistic McCown has the same type of season in 2014 if Cutler misses significant time again?
This is why the Bears should draft a quarterback in the middle-to-late rounds as an insurance policy if they fail to re-sign McCown.
After the obvious first-round draft choices – Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Central Florida’s Blake Bortles – are gone, and so are possible early draft picks such as Derek Carr of Fresno State and Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, there are still a ton of QBs who will be available and who were successful at running college offenses. Those QBs include Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Georgia‘s Aaron Murray, as well as Clemson‘s Tajh Boyd.
In any given season, you never know what you are going to get from Cutler although with his new contract extension in the books, he should be able to play more freely without looking over his shoulder. However, as a security blanket, the Bears still should draft a quarterback that Trestman can develop in case McCown leaves and Cutler starts to perform like the Cutler we know him to be, not the Cutler we know he could be.
It wouldn’t hurt. There are plenty of options at the Bears’ disposal; all they have to do is choose one.