Josh McCown

AFC Notes: Colts, McCown, Harbaugh

The Colts pulled off a rare blockbuster trade this offseason, shipping out their first-round pick in exchange for All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. Now, we have more details on exactly how that deal came to be. It all happened quickly, as the deal came together in less than a week, sources told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Buckner’s agent met with 49ers brass back at the combine, where they made it clear the big man was looking for at least $20MM annually on a contract extension. San Francisco apparently decided right then and there that they weren’t going to be able to pay that, and needed to look for a trade.

La Canfora reports that a handful of teams were in the mix, but Colts GM Chris Ballard was the most aggressive in his pursuit. Ballard was willing to talk contract details immediately, and of course the defensive tackle ended up getting a new pact worth more than $21MM annually. La Canfora also notes that Indiana’s low three percent income tax played a role in Buckner’s eagerness to join Indy. The Colts have had one of the best defenses in the league this season, in large part due to Buckner’s continued elite play.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • It was a very quiet trade deadline this past week, and the Browns were one of the many teams to stand pat. That doesn’t mean front office head Andrew Berry wasn’t working the phones, and he revealed recently during a call with the media that Cleveland came close on a couple of deals. “We did explore a number of different possible transactions. I’d say maybe a couple of things got perhaps within striking distance but either moved away from us or we moved away from it for various reasons,” Berry said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Berry also indicated that the uncertainty around the 2021 salary cap due to COVID-19 played a large part in the lack of trades. At 5-3, the Browns were in position to be buyers at the deadline for the first time in many years, so it would’ve been exciting to see them add a piece.
  • Here’s something we didn’t see coming. The deal Josh McCown recently signed with the Texans is actually for two years, meaning he won’t be a free agent at the end of the year as was initially assumed, La Canfora writes. While it’s a bit surprising considering McCown is 41 and was only on the Eagles’ practice squad until last week, it does make some sense considering the circumstances. Houston is headed into a period of great uncertainty as they look for a new head coach and GM, and McCown will be a steady veteran presence for this rocky transition. La Canfora’s piece makes it clear that the offer was made as a ‘culture’ signing, with McCown essentially serving as another coach for DeShaun Watson moving forward. McCown, who had been participating with the Eagles remotely while living at home in Texas, “agonized” over the decision to leave Philly’s organization, sources told La Canfora. Pretty much everybody seems to believe McCown is going to become a coach whenever he eventually hangs up his cleats, and La Canfora confirms that he is still “very much on the Eagles’ radar as a potential quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator soon after he retires.”
  • Speaking of things seemingly everyone believes, Adam Gase is nearly universally thought be on his way out as the Jets head coach. Whenever he’s officially fired New York’s head coaching search will become very interesting, and one name that is bound to come up again is Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh has been rumored as a Jets candidate in each of their last three coaching searches, but Rich Cimini of ESPN.com isn’t sure it would be a great fit. Although he notes New York interviewed Harbaugh in 2009 and were interested in 2014, he thinks a coach of Harbaugh’s pedigree would likely want to have personnel control over whatever team he heads to. Considering the Jets just recently hired GM Joe Douglas and aren’t planning on firing him any time soon, that arrangement wouldn’t really gel. All that being said, Cimini does point out that Douglas knows John Harbaugh from his time with the Ravens, so perhaps we shouldn’t totally shut the door on this one.

Texans To Sign Josh McCown

The Texans have agreed to sign Josh McCown off of the Eagles’ practice squad roster, as ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. The veteran quarterback will serve as insurance for starter Deshaun Watson and could dress for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars.

McCown signed an unprecedented deal to become the Eagles emergency remote quarterback (and a QB whisperer for Carson Wentz) in September. Now in his 40s, McCown is essentially viewed as a player/part-time assistant, with the expectation that he’ll be a coveted coaching candidate once he eventually retires.

McCown was the backup to Wentz last year when he was suddenly inserted in their first-round playoff game against Seattle. Then, he nearly led the Eagles to an improbable win.

This year, McCown has spent the bulk of his time at home in Texas, so he won’t have to make much of an adjustment as he joins up with Watson & Co. Furthermore, the deal could give him an opportunity to showcase his expertise as the Texans plot their coaching staff for 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Eagles, McCown, Claiborne, Saints, Crawley

Josh McCown agreed to an unprecedented deal to become the Eagles’ emergency remote quarterback by signing to their practice squad earlier this month, and now we have more details on the arrangement. One of the reasons McCown was brought in was because of his strong relationship with Carson Wentz, and he’s been talking Wentz through his slow start, sources told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

Sources also told La Canfora that McCown is viewed by the Eagles and other organizations across the league as a future NFL head coach. McCown is essentially working as a part-time coach right now, as La Canfora writes he’s staying in shape but not training with the team at all. “Several” execs told La Canfora that he “could be an NFL head coach within five years of retiring from the game, perhaps sooner.” Those same execs said he could have a quarterback coach job right now if he wanted it, and would be fast-tracked to be a coordinator.

This isn’t all that surprising considering the Eagles discussed a coaching job with him as far back as January. The 41-year-old McCown was the backup to Wentz last year when he was suddenly inserted in relief in their first-round playoff game against Seattle and nearly led them to an improbable win. If Wentz keeps playing like he has been, they might need him to come in cold off the bench one more time.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of guys on the verge of retirement, that’s apparently a good way to describe free agent corner Morris Claiborne. While not officially retired Claiborne is “not actively looking for work and spending family time,” Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Fowler adds that while he’s “staying ready just in case,” it “would take the ideal circumstance” to get him off the couch. The sixth overall pick of the 2012 draft by the Cowboys, Claiborne won the Super Bowl with the Chiefs last year, appearing in eight games and starting one. He made 15 starts in each of the previous two seasons with the Jets. If this is really it for him, he’ll hang up his cleats having made 74 starts across eight years, but never quite living up to his draft status.
  • The Saints are playing right now on Sunday Night Football, and they could be reuniting with a familiar face soon. New Orleans brought in cornerback Ken Crawley for a visit on Friday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The 2016 UDFA started his career with the Saints, and was with him until he was cut and claimed off waivers by the Dolphins in October of last year. He was with both the Raiders and Cardinals during training camp, and was ultimately cut by both. Still only 27, Crawley was a big part of the Saints’ defense for a while, starting 13 games in 2017 and five in 2018. He struggled pretty badly toward the end with the Saints, which is what led to his release.

Matt Moore, DeAndre Washington Land On Chiefs’ Practice Squad

After agreeing to re-sign with the Chiefs late in the offseason, Matt Moore learned he did not make their active roster. But he is not leaving Kansas City.

The defending Super Bowl champions are carrying Moore on their expanded practice squad. Moore joins Josh McCown as veteran quarterbacks who agreed to join practice squads Sunday. Teams are now permitted to carry up to six veterans of unlimited service time on their taxi squads, and the Chiefs will also use one of their slots for quarterback insurance.

Moore, signed after he’d left the game and begun working as a scout and a high school assistant coach, started two games in relief of Patrick Mahomes last year. He won one of those, against the Vikings, and that game ended up helping the Chiefs clinch the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Moore, 36, will play an emergency role behind Mahomes and Chad Henne. The Chiefs are carrying two QBs — Moore and former XFL passer Jordan Ta’amu — on their P-squad.

Former Raiders backup running back DeAndre Washington also rejoined the Chiefs after being released. The Chiefs signed the veteran back this offseason but gave holdovers Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson roster spots over him, despite Washington having played with Mahomes at Texas Tech.

Here is Kansas City’s full squad:

Eagles Sign Josh McCown To Practice Squad

Well this is an unusual arrangement we didn’t see coming. The Eagles are signing veteran quarterback Josh McCown to their practice squad, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Thanks to a new COVID-19 exception veterans will be able to serve on practice squads, making this possible. As Schefter notes, he’ll easily be the oldest practice squad player in NFL history. Making the situation even more unique, McCown won’t even be reporting to the team. Instead McCown will continue to live in Texas, earn a $12K weekly salary, and serve as Philly’s emergency quarterback remotely.

McCown’s lovable journeyman career has taken him all over the football world, so it feels right for him to blaze this unheard of trail. We had heard back in January the Eagles were talking about adding him to the coaching staff, and this is the next best thing.

After originally announcing his retirement in June of last year, he signed with Philly last August after they had a couple of injuries. After serving as Carson Wentz‘s backup and not starting a game he was suddenly thrown into the spotlight when Wentz went down in the Eagles’ first round playoff game against Seattle.

McCown came into the game cold off the bench and nearly led them to a miracle victory, tearing his hamstring in the process and playing through the injury.

The Eagles have Nate Sudfeld and Jalen Hurts behind Wentz now, but in these uncertain times it can’t hurt to have too much insurance. McCown has turned into a fan favorite over the course of his career that started in 2002 with the Cardinals, and this is a nice feather in his cap.

Here is Philly’s full practice squad:

* = international player

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: McCown, Kitchens, Woods

Whenever Josh McCown decides to hang up his cleats, it sounds like he’ll have an opportunity to pursue a new career path. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Eagles discussed “the idea of [McCown] returning to the team in a coaching role” next season.

Notably, the exit meeting was attended by the 40-year-old quarterback, head coach Doug Pederson, general manager Howie Roseman… and owner Jeffrey Lurie, who rarely makes an appearance at those meetings. It’s uncertain if McCown was offered a definitive coaching gig, and the 40-year-old ultimately couldn’t commit to retirement. At the very least, it sounds like the organization is optimistic about the veteran’s coaching ability.

McCown had retired following the 2018 season and caught on with ESPN as an analyst. However, he later signed with the Eagles following injuries to backups Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler. The 18-year veteran ended up appearing in three games for Philly, and he filled in for Carson Wentz during the team’s playoff loss to the Seahawks.

Let’s check out some more coaching notes from around the league…

  • Earlier this month, we heard whispers that former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens could land with the Giants. However, Dan Duggan of The Athletic writes that the coach “isn’t a lock” to land in New York. We learned yesterday that the two sides still hadn’t finalized an agreement. Kitchens worked alongside new Giants head coach Joe Judge during their time at Mississippi State, and there was speculation that the 45-year-old could join the staff as a tight ends coach. The Browns went 6-10 during Kitchens’ lone season as their head coach, and he was canned following the regular season.
  • Before hiring Patrick Graham as their defensive coordinator, the Giants had interest in Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn, reports Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post (via Twitter). While he missed out on the gig, the 47-year-old still interviewed for another role on the Giants coaching staff today. Prior to this stint with New Orleans, the 1994 first-round pick served as the Browns assistant defensive backs coach.
  • Joe Woods is the favorite to become the Browns defensive coordinator, but the 49ers won’t let that happen without a fight. Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune tweets that San Francisco is making a “late push” to retain their defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator. Woods has coached in the NFL since 2004, and he served as the Broncos defensive coordinator between 2017 and 2018.
  • Speaking of the Browns, head coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed that three assistants will be sticking around next season (via the team’s website): special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, assistant special teams coach Doug Colman and run game coordinator/running backs coach Stump Mitchell.
  • Vikings receivers coach Drew Petzing won’t be back with the team next season, reports Goessling (via Twitter). Petzing had spent the past six seasons with the organization, spending time with wideouts, running backs, and quarterbacks.

Eagles’ Josh McCown To Have Surgery

Quarterback Josh McCown tore his hamstring in the Eagles’ playoff loss to the Seahawks, as Tim McManus of ESPN.com tweets. Remarkably, McCown played through the injury in the second half of the game as he filled in for Carson Wentz

The surgery will keep McCown sidelined for six weeks. After that, he’ll have a decision to make on his future. Last week’s game marked McCown’s first playoff action at the age of 40 and he’ll turn 41 in July, just before training camp gets underway.

Few players would have stayed on the field after tearing a hamstring, but McCown felt he had little choice. After Wentz exited in the first quarter with a concussion, McCown was left as the only quarterback on the Eagles’ active roster.

In June of last year, McCown announced that he would retire after 17 years in the NFL. In August, the Eagles talked him out of hit. He inked a one-year, $2MM deal to serve as Wentz’s backup after the Eagles lost QBs Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler to injury. The veteran threw just five passes in the regular season before he was called upon in the wild card contest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: McCown, Treadwell, Cowboys

The Eagles made a surprising decision to sign Josh McCown out of retirement on Saturday, and the fact that they gave McCown a $2MM guarantee suggests that he is a lock to make the roster. Indeed, Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP reports that Philadelphia was trying to sign McCown even before presumptive QB2 Nate Sudfeld was sidelined with a wrist injury (Twitter link). Shorr-Parks notes in a separate tweet that HC Doug Pederson declined to say whether Sudfeld will remain the primary backup. Pederson said he will figure that out when Sudfeld heals.

Let’s round up a few more NFC East items:

  • Former first-round pick Laquon Treadwell is on the trade block, and Matt Lombardo of NJ.com believes the Giants could make a play for him. Treadwell played under New York head coach Pat Shurmur when the latter served as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator, and Shurmur held the Ole Miss product in high regard not that long ago. Given the current state of the Giants’ WR depth chart, Lombardo suggests it would be reasonable for Big Blue to send a sixth- or seventh-round pick to Minnesota to see if a change of scenery can unlock some of Treadwell’s potential.
  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones may not want to meet QB Dak Prescott‘s asking price — said to be at least $35MM per year — but he confirmed that Prescott’s eventual contract will put him in the top tier of quarterbacks. Jones said, “[a] lot of people question whether Dak is one of those guys that need to be in the top tier. I’ve never questioned that. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s in the top level of paid quarterbacks…Now, how do we make this all fit and what can we do to have the best team around him? That’s what we’re trying to work on” (Twitter link via Jon Machota of The Athletic).
  • Tony Pollard‘s performance in training camp and the preseason may be giving the Cowboys a little leverage in their contract talks with Ezekiel Elliott, and Jones said “Zeke who?” when asked if Pollard is becoming the team’s best negotiator with Elliott (Twitter link via Machota). Jones made it clear he was joking and said he believes Pollard will be an excellent complement to, and not a replacement for, Elliott (in case you missed it, we heard this morning that Elliott will not face criminal charges for the altercation between him and a security guard in May).
  • Despite spending the entire 2018 season out of football, Cowboys WR Devin Smith has a legitimate chance of cracking the team’s roster, as Machota tweets. Smith caught a TD pass in Dallas’ preseason contest on Saturday, and his play has been very strong over the past week. The former Jets second-rounder signed a reserve/futures deal with the Cowboys in January.

Eagles To Sign Josh McCown

The Eagles will sign Josh McCown to man their backup quarterback spot, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (Twitter link). It’s a one-year, $2MM deal with $1.7MM in base compensation, a $300K signing bonus, and $3.4MM available through playing time incentives (Twitter link via SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan). 

Philadelphia entered the preseason with Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler competing for the No. 2 spot on the QB depth chart. Sudfeld broke his wrist during the team’s first preseason game while Kessler suffered a concussion during their second preseason contest. The franchise also has fifth-round pick Clayton Thorson on the squad. The rookie completed 16-of-26 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown in extended play vs. the Jaguars on Thursday.

Sudfeld is expected to return this season and his roster spot seems secure. Kessler’s future with the team is less certain with the McCown signing and it’s hard to envision a scenario where Thorson is on the squad come week 1.

With Nick Foles departing this offseason, the Eagles lacked a strong option at the back-up QB position. McCown, who spent the last two seasons with the Jets, will provide Philadelphia with a solid veteran who is capable of a spot start or two if needed.

McCown announced his retirement this offseason and was pursing a broadcasting career with ESPN. He’ll resume that career next year after serving as an insurance policy of sorts for Carson Wentz in Philadelphia this upcoming season.

McCown’s contract will be a one-year deal with a $2MM base salary that is fully guaranteed, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) hears that the deal could be worth as much as $5.4MM with incentives.

The Eagles will be the 40-year-old’s 10th team of his 17-year career. He spent the last two seasons with the Jets where he appeared in 17 contests for the club. McCown also previously spent time in the UFL, where he played for the Hartford Colonials.

One Team Was Interested In Recently Retired Josh McCown

Earlier this week, longtime quarterback Josh McCown called it quits on a 17-year career. He had the opportunity to push it another year, ESPN’s Rich Cimini writes

McCown, 39, who became a free agent this offseason, had at least one team interested in bringing in the veteran QB as recently as two weeks ago. The journeyman signal-caller decided to retire instead of take that offer.

It’s safe to assume that team would have pursued McCown as a mentor to a young quarterback, similar to the situation he was in with the Jets in 2018 as a de facto coach to first-round pick Sam Darnold.

Cimini also asked McCown about what Darnold could improve upon entering his second season. McCown responded with, “Playing fast and smart on early downs.” That criticism was dead on from the veteran, as Darnold performed better on third downs than he did on first and second downs as a rookie in 2018.

“He needs to know when to cut bait on a play and when to rip it,” McCown said. “That will be more fine-tuned this year because I know Adam [Gase] will help with that. That will be the biggest jump for him. If he can eliminate five or six incompletions per game, it’ll be a major improvement.”

As Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes, McCown has accepted a position as an NFL analyst for ESPN.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.