Josh McCown may not get credit for it, but his resurgence in 2017 to keep a tattered Jets offense from falling into complete disarray was one of the most impressive performances of the season. Now, the 39-year-old quarterback is back for another go with the team.
The veteran signed a one-year, $10 million deal with New York, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. This pushes him one year closer to joining Tom Brady as the league’s only passers to see their fifth decades while calling plays. McCown had a bounceback season at age 38 to prove he’s still capable of leading an NFL team, guiding New York to an overachieving 5-8 record before succumbing to injury and completing more than 67 percent of his passes.
McCown seems excited to be back.
He’ll have a chance to follow that season with another capable performance if he can beat out Teddy Bridgewater, who is still a possibility despite the McCown signing according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, or an early draft pick if the Jets decide to go in that direction.
Why is a 39-year-old quarterback worth the investment?
McCown looked cooked after a depressing 2016 season with the 1-15 Cleveland Browns, and the Jets’ decision to roll with him at the top of a depth chart that also included Christian Hackenburg and Bryce Petty seemed like a transparent ploy to push the club to the top of the 2018 NFL Draft order. Instead, the journeyman passer put together one of the finest performances of his long career, gleaning big performances from a mostly anonymous set of targets and dragging New York to the periphery of the playoff race.
His five victories as a starter won’t seem especially impressive on the surface, but three of those wins came over playoff teams, including the AFC West and AFC South champions. He torched the Patriots’ beleaguered defense for 354 passing yards, beat the Chiefs behind 331 passing yards, and lit up the Panthers for 307 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a career-high five touchdowns last season, which is, quite frankly, amazing.
He’s no one’s idea of a long-term investment, though. Not only is he approaching 40 (and, sadly, doesn’t have a single book deal to show for it), but his career has been defined by up-and-down performances. His work in relief of Jay Cutler in 2013 saw him lead the league in interception rate and led to a two-year, $10 million deal with Tampa Bay after years of settling for the veteran’s minimum. He’d start 22 games in his next three seasons while playing for the Buccaneers and Browns — and went just 2-20 over that span.