Josh McCown Visiting Cleveland: Why? We Have Ideas


According to ESPN and other media reports, Josh McCown was in town yesterday to visit with the Cleveland Browns and continued his visit today:

We have looked at McCown briefly in the past and nothing has changed: McCown is still a very sub-par quarterback with very little success in the NFL. He is also too old to have any real hope that there is any upside left, unlike a player like Jake Locker who you could at least buy that a change of scenery might help.

So what gives? Why do the Browns have McCown in town? Why are they wasting their time?

A few possible thoughts on the matter may shed some light on the matter. First, McCown is actually available right now to talk to the Browns. Besides Brian Hoyer, none of the other free agent options (Locker, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Mallett, etc) are available until free agency starts. Since McCown was released the Browns can start their process with him earlier and get it out of the way before the rest of the market hits.

Second, Hoyer can’t talk to any other team until that time as well. They know Hoyer, the good and the bad. There isn’t much they need to discuss with their starting quarterback for much of last season. They also are not at risk of losing Hoyer at this point, alienating him sure but not losing him. If the Browns want Hoyer back and Hoyer wants to come back, a deal can be done.

Third, and sadly, McCown is actually an option to be the Browns starting quarterback next season. Either Hoyer or the team could move on from last year, Johnny Manziel has a lot to work out and Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are unlikely to fall to #12 (but Mariota might be attainable in a trade up). The rest of the free agent QB crop is weak as well. While McCown might be near the bottom of the list of recent starters in the league that are now free agents, he is more viable than Connor Shaw, maybe not by much.

McCown is a veteran QB. He had one good “season,” technically it was half a season with the Chicago Bears two years ago. He then signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he struggled and was released after one season.

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If McCown is signed he is likely the only veteran QB the Browns will sign. They could still try to attack the NFL Draft looking to find a young guy to groom alongside Manziel. Mariota could be that guy or Brett Hundley, who seems about two years away from starting at this point, could be the pick in the 2nd or 3rd round. Most analysts think Hundley would be a reach before the 3rd but the Browns could get desperate.

For now all we know is Josh McCown is visiting the Browns for two days. He did the same with the Buffalo Bills and likely has plans to visit other teams. Wherever he signs he is unlikely to be guaranteed anything more than a shot at the starting job. At the very least signing McCown would show Johnny Manziel that the starting job is not his and that he has to work hard to earn it. Though McCown won’t be the best threat the Browns could trot out there, he would be a threat at least to Johnny Football’s ascension to the thrown.

Can you think of any other reason Josh McCown is visiting the Cleveland Browns for two days?

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