3:25 pm: The full value of the deal has been released, as it has been revealed to be a three-year deal worth $14MM and up to $20MM with incentives, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Twitter). He adds that $6.25MM is guaranteed, and $5.25MM is guaranteed in the first year.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the salary is the same he would have had in Tampa Bay this year had he not been released, and that McCown gained an additional $1MM in guaranteed money (via Twitter). He also writes that the incentives are based on playing time and the team making the playoffs (via Twitter).
SATURDAY, 10:05 am: The team has officially announced the move, via Andrew Gribble of ClevelandBrowns.com.
“Josh is your consummate professional,” said general manager Ray Farmer said. “He’s known to be a great guy in the locker room and will be great for the quarterback room. He knows how to get an entire offense on the same page and get a team to rally behind him. He has been exposed to a lot of different types of offenses and we think still has the drive and skill set to be a successful quarterback in this league.
“We are excited to get him and believe he will help continue to move us in the right direction and help us build the type of team that will bring winning football to Cleveland.”
FRIDAY, 5:27 pm: The Browns have agreed to terms with free agent quarterback Josh McCown, according to the player’s agent, Mike McCartney (Twitter link). The deal will be for three years, Mike Garofalo of Fox Sports tweeted. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the contract will pay McCown in the ballpark of $5MM per year.
Cleveland and Buffalo were two of the known candidates vying for the services of the 35-year-old McCown. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, it appeared McCown was leaning toward joining the Bills, but strong recruiting by Browns brass (general manager Ray Farmer, head coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) convinced him to sign with Cleveland.
The Browns will be McCown’s ninth franchise since he entered the league in 2002 and third in the last three seasons. The 6-foot-4, 213-pounder spent the 2014 campaign in Tampa Bay and performed poorly in 11 games for a Buccaneers team that finished with the NFL’s worst record. He threw for 11 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and completed only 56.3% of his passes – good for a dismal 70.5 rating. The Bucs subsequently cut McCown earlier this month.
McCown’s arrival in Cleveland is expected to draw the short-lived Brian Hoyer era to a close. With McCown aboard, Hoyer – who’s set to hit the free agent market March 10 – is sure to look for work elsewhere. The 29-year-old spent the past two years with the Browns and put up McCown-esque numbers in 2014 (55.3 completion percentage, 12 TDs, 13 INTs and a 76.5 rating in 14 games).
As Hoyer’s replacement, McCown will likely compete with second-year man Johnny Manziel for the Browns’ starting quarterback position in 2015. Given Manziel’s struggles on and off the field, including a stint in rehab this winter, the inside track for the job would seemingly belong to McCown – at least for now. Regardless of whether he starts, McCown is willing to serve as a mentor to Manziel and the Browns’ other young passer, Connor Shaw, according to Cabot – who tweeted that the Browns still might add another veteran QB this offseason.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.