The Broncos’ brief look at Johnny Manziel won’t amount to anything, but Denver is keeping its eye on another quarterback who started games in Cleveland last season. According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the Broncos will consider acquiring Josh McCown if they don’t ultimately land Colin Kaepernick from the 49ers.
McCown, who turns 37 in July, was arguably the Browns’ most effective signal-caller in 2015, despite the fact that the team lost seven of his eight starts. McCown tossed 12 touchdowns to just four interceptions, completing 63.7% of his passes and surpassing 2,100 yards passing in just half a season. His campaign was cut short by a broken collarbone.
Even with Manziel no longer in the mix though, McCown looks somewhat expendable in Cleveland. Robert Griffin III and Austin Davis are among the QBs currently on the roster, and the Browns are widely expected to use an early pick in this month’s draft to fortify the position. With the franchise in rebuilding mode, McCown, who has a $5MM+ cap hit for 2016 and remains under contract through 2017, doesn’t fit into the long-term plan.
For Denver, McCown wouldn’t necessarily represent a noticeable upgrade on the club’s in-house options of Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian, but he’s capable of starting, and would make for a reliable backup if he didn’t win the job. If the Broncos fail to acquire Kaepernick, they could attempt to land McCown in a deal similar to their trade for Sanchez, in which they surrendered only a conditional late-round draft pick.
The Broncos may prefer for the Browns to simply release McCown, since they could explore signing him on their own terms at that point. Still, the veteran’s salary on his current contract isn’t exorbitant — he would count for $4.375MM in cap space for any team that acquired him in a trade, with no guaranteed money beyond 2016.
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