I think the Buccaneers might be overrating Josh McCown. Going into last season, Josh McCown was a 34-year-old quarterback who hadn’t posted a quarterback rating of over 70 since 2006. McCown played very solid in limited action with the Bears last season, completing 66.5% of his passes for an average of 8.17 YPA, 13 touchdowns, and 1 interception on 224 attempts, but it’s hard to believe that he suddenly just became a better quarterback at age 34. It was probably a combination of flukiness and the tutelage of Marc Trestman as head coach, neither of which are going to help him in Tampa Bay.
It’s a telling sign that Trestman and the Bears made little effort to bring McCown back as Jay Cutler’s backup. Meanwhile, Lovie Smith’s track record with quarterbacks is far less impressive. The same is true of his track record with offensive coordinators so I don’t trust Jeff Tedford to get the most out of McCown like Trestman and Aaron Kromer did. Sure, a tried and failed quarterback suddenly having a legitimate late career breakout isn’t completely unprecedented. Rich Gannon is a name that comes to mind. However, that’s hardly the norm and even Gannon deteriorated very quickly once he got into his mid-to-late 30s and fell out of the tutelage of Jon Gruden and Bill Callahan.
The money here isn’t really the issue. The Buccaneers are paying McCown 10 million over 2 years, which is comparable to deals that Matt Moore (2 years, 8 million), Matt Cassel (2 years, 10 million), and Chad Henne (2 years, 8 million) have gotten over the last two off-seasons. McCown fits very well with them in that high end backup group. The issue is that the Buccaneers immediately named Josh McCown the starter over Mike Glennon.
Mike Glennon wasn’t perfect in his first year in the league last season, but he was the best of the rookie quarterbacks and showed enough that he deserved another chance to be the starter. He completed 59.4% of his passes for an average of 6.27 YPA, 19 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions, showing some of the tools necessary for him to develop into the type of quarterback that can take this team somewhere. Josh McCown, for all intents and purposes, is still a tried and failed NFL starting quarterback and one going into his age-35 season. He’s not going to be the one to get the Buccaneers anywhere. This move only sets them back a year or so, which is why I was not a fan of it at all.