Josh McCown saw his NFL stock skyrocket in 2013. The veteran backup filled in for the injured Jay Cutler and excelled as a starter for a good portion of the season. Now a free agent, McCown is getting a lot of attention as a potential starter in the league. After he denied a report he would retire in the offseason, McCown may actually be looking to simply return to Chicago over taking other offers.
The Chicago Bears have inked Cutler to a seven-year contract that will make him the team's starting quarterback for the long-term. However, with McCown currently approaching free agency, the team is in need of a reliable backup considering how much time Cutler spends on the bench for various injuries. McCown is looking to fill the role.
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According to the Chicago Tribune, McCown is heavily considering a return to Chicago in 2014. He is not aiming to replace Cutler at any point, but would be welcomed to the backup role once again over being a starter. McCown is looking for a multi-year deal to secure his future and stability for his family and he might only be able to get that as a backup and not a stop-gap starter. The Tribune reports the interest is mutual, but the Bears might sputter on the multi-year request. The team has a lot of salary cap issues to worry and signing a backup to a big contract, no matter how good he might be, is not a priority.
The report on McCown comes after multiple teams express bringing him as a potential starter. Most recently, the Jets have looked towards McCown to increase competition for rookie Geno Smith. If Mark Sanchez gets released, McCown could be the best option for either a potential starter or veteran backup.
McCown started five games for the Bears last season, completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,829 yards and 13 touchdowns while putting up just one interception. The Jets interest certainly makes sense considering general manager John Idzik is not committed to the future of Smith just yet. McCown could help the team in transition.
Other franchises are looking to bring McCown in for the same reason. Teams like the Minnesota Vikings who plan on drafting a rookie are interested in McCown to help develop the young player. The Oakland Raiders are another team targeting the veteran to help over the next few years.
McCown sounds poised to return to Chicago unless the team denies a multi-year deal. If the Jets, Vikings or Raiders come with a better contract offer, it will seen just how committed McCown is to the city of Chicago.