Josh McCown is having the best career of his year, and it may be his last. When Jay Cutler went down, the Bears were hoping McCown could step in and hold down the fort – do enough to keep the team in contention until Cutler recovered.
The 34-year old journeyman quarterback did that and much, much more, setting himself up for a sizeable payday in the impending offseason. But Chicago (and most NFL cities) are just too far away from his family in North Carolina.
“There’s not enough money in the world to justify and make it feel OK to miss [his kids’] games and stuff like that,” McCown said. “It’s a process. It’s things that we think about, quite honestly, moving forward in my career in the direction, ‘Are we going to keep playing?’ All those things, because it’s a real question, because those things are hard.”
Completely understandable, but shucks, quite a tough time for these feelings to arise. All McCown did was start five games to the tune of 1,829 yards, 13 touchdowns, 1 interception, and completed 66.5% of his passes on his way to a 109.0 rating. Oh, and his total QBR is an NFL best 85.1 during that span. Yes, even better than Peyton Manning.
McCown did so well in Cutler’s stead with efficient passing and spreading the ball, resulting in a considerable breakout period for Alshon Jeffrey, that when “only throw to Brandon Marshall” Cutler recovered, many Bears fans were pushing for coach Marc Trestman to keep McCown at the helm. Trestman went with Cutler and he put up an uninspired 222 yards with one touchdown and one interception and a 15.4 total QBR in his second game back in a 54-11 blowout by the Eagles.
Alas, McCown could go from having, by far, the best year of his career (he had previously never posted a QB rating above 75) to retired. His high level of play is likely not making his decision-making any easier, although, the lure of money in pro sports is tough to turn away from.
McCown’s best option is to look for work closer to his home. Even if Jacksonville selects a QB with their high draft slot, the Jaguars could use his services as a veteran presence while Bridgewater, etc. develop, as could the Cleveland Browns considering Brandon Weeden has unsurprisingly added himself to the anthology that is Browns QB busts.
Either way, good luck, Josh.