The Jets signed journeyman, veteran Josh McCown to a one-year deal worth $6 million. While on the surface McCown, who is 18-42 lifetime as a starter is not going to turn heads, this move was never about winning hearts and minds and football games this year. This was a move by the Jets that was strictly about playing for the future.
How does a 38-year old quarterback play into the future of the Jets? It's simple. McCown is known as a good clubhouse guy, and has been credited for being a mentor to younger players throughout his career. In fact this is a guy who has coached high school football when the NFL wasn't ringing up his phone.
The Jets have two young quarterbacks in Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg that not only need playing time, but need a veteran voice to guide them. That is why McCown is here.
Sure McCown has a good arm, and can make all the throws when he needs to, but this season was never about winning 8 or 9 games and competing for a playoff spot. This entire season was about rebuilding the franchise, and finding the next foundation players to lead it into 2018 and beyond.
Had the Jets settled for Cutler, or even Colin Kaepernick, they never would have gotten the veteran-savy quarterback who was willing to teach players. Cutler or Kaepernick would have come into New York feeling that the starting job was their's for the taking and would never relinquish it. That is not what the Jets need. They already had that with Ryan Fitzpatrick the past two years.
If you really want to know how valuable McCown can be to a young team, this is what former Jets receiver Brandon Marshall had to say about him:
“That was our leader,” Marshall said in October. “He’s a stud. He led up; he led down. When he wasn’t starting in Chicago, he kept all the guys together, defense and offense. We had some big personalities there, including myself. At times we had egos. And he was the guy that kept us rolling.”
That's a mighty impressive recommendation from a guy who is now playing across the hall at MetLife Stadium for the Giants.
While Jets fans are upset that McCown isn't Tony Romo, the bigger question that fans should concern themselves with is whether Mike Maccagnan can have a competent draft this spring. Thus far after two years, the Jets GM has turned over mediocre results in the draft, including reaching for Petty and Hackenberg. Now he is stuck with those two young quarterbacks and has to find a way to get the most out of them.