Josh McCown

Jets Notes: QBs, McCown, Catanzaro, Ijalana

The Jets will stage a competition at quarterback in 2017, and Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg will all be given a chance to win the job, head coach Todd Bowles told reporters, including Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link). McCown signed a one-year deal that comes with $6MM guaranteed and $7MM available via incentives, so the 37-year-old has to be considered the favorite in any sort of battle. But Hackenberg, specifically, could be handed a shot to play in 2017 after being selected in the second round of last year’s draft.

Here’s more out of New York:

  • Bowles would not rule out the possibility of the Jets drafting a quarterback with the sixth overall pick, and as such, is open to keeping four signal-callers on the roster for the second consecutive season, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY and Connor Hughes of NJ.com (Twitter links). Gang Green has been lined to the majority of the quarterbacks at the top of the draft — including Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and DeShone Kizer, and could conceivably land one at No. 6. The Jets have no interest in adding another veteran QB, however.
  • New York will add competition “from somewhere” for new kicker Chandler Catanzaro, Bowles said, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Without specifics, that means the Jets could add another kicker in free agency, the draft, or in undrafted free agency. Catanzaro, who signed a one-year deal with $250K guaranteed after being cut loose by Arizona, converted only 75% of his field goal attempts in 2016.
  • After not employing a fullback in 2016 under former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, the Jets may sign an FB this offseason, per Bowles (Twitter link via Cimini). New play-caller John Morton may want a fullback, as the Saints (Morton’s former employer) used one on roughly a quarter of their plays. New York recently met with free agent fullback Will Johnson.
  • Offensive lineman Ben Ijalana‘s two-year deal is worth $10.25MM and contains $3MM guaranteed, tweets Cimini. Ijalana, who will play right tackle opposite Kelvin Beachum, will count for $4.25MM on the Jets’ 2017 salary cap before the club decides on a 2018 option worth $6MM.

Jets Rumors: Pryor, Richardson, McCown

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan addressed reporters moments ago and touched on a wide range of topics. Here’s a quick look at the highlights:

  • Maccagnan won’t say if they will pick up safety Calvin Pryor’s fifth-year option, as Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets. Pryor, a first-round pick made by the old regime in New York, is reportedly in some danger of being cut this offseason. The Jets have until early may to make the call on Pryor’s option and it sounds like they are hesitating over guaranteeing his 2018 season for injury. The Louisville product known for his hard hitting had 60 total tackles in 2016.
  • Maccagnan declined to commit to Sheldon Richardson‘s future with the Jets and says he’ll weigh all options with regards to the defensive lineman (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY). The Jets once dangled Richardson with the hope of getting a first-round pick, but it now seems like they might have to settle for a third-round choice if they move him.
  • Maccagnan says it’s “highly unlikely” they will add another veteran quarterback, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. However, he won’t rule out drafting a QB. He also wouldn’t commit to Josh McCown being the team’s starter in 2017, saying that it’s a decision that will be made by coach Todd Bowles. McCown’s deal came with a $6MM guarantee, so it would be a bit surprising if he wasn’t the team’s Week 1 starter.
  • There were rumblings about Muhammad Wilkerson being out of shape this offseason, but the defensive lineman refuted that talk earlier this week.
  • The Jets signed Quinton Patton on Thursday, giving them seven wide receivers under contract.

Josh McCown Signs With Jets

Josh McCown agreed to a one-year deal to join the Jets, according to the quarterback’s agent, Mike McCartney (on Twitter). McCown visited the Jets for multiple days last weekend. The Jets confirmed the move.

It’s a $6MM fully guaranteed deal for McCown, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets. That’s high-end backup money on the surface, but Breer adds another $7MM in incentives ($2MM in playing-time bonuses, $5MM in team-based bumps) could come his way. The team incentives aren’t likely to be earned, being associated with the playoffs and Super Bowl (per Breer, on Twitter), but McCown will receive $125K for each game in which he plays 50 percent of Gang Green’s snaps.

Until the parties finalized this agreement, Jay Cutler was slated to visit the Jets this week, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds a Jets/Cutler union is now off the table (Twitter link). The Jets reached out to both Cutler and McCown last week, but McCown was summoned for the initial visit. His asking price almost certainly wasn’t what Cutler’s is. The Jets paid Ryan Fitzpatrick $12MM last season after a lengthy impasse.

This agreement comes after the Jets brought in Chase Daniel for a visit today and have been linked throughout the offseason to Cutler. McCown profiles as a stopgap option, and it’s not a lock that this addition will stop the Jets from adding a younger veteran, but the team has two younger quarterbacks on the roster already in Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. McCown looks set to have a great chance to start during what will be his 16th season.

Also connected to the Cowboys this offseason, McCown visited Dallas just before the new league year started. But the Cowboys weren’t willing to pay their next backup this much money, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). The Cowboys reunited with Kellen Moore earlier today.

McCown has history with Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, working under him for two years as Cutler’s backup in Chicago. The 37-year-old McCown’s enjoyed a unique career arc, having spent many NFL seasons as a backup. But a strong showing in relief of Cutler on the 2013 Bears led to multiple agreements to serve as a starter. This could well be a third such commitment from a team.

McCown served as the primary starter for the 2014 Buccaneers and 2015 Browns. After an injury-plagued 2016 season in Cleveland, the Browns cut him with one year remaining on his deal. While the teams McCown’s quarterbacked during his late-career time as a starter have not enjoyed much success — McCown is 2-20 as a starter over the past three seasons — he has had stretches to generate intrigue. McCown completed nearly 64 percent of his passes for a Browns team that didn’t have Josh Gordon in 2015, throwing for 12 touchdowns and four interceptions in eight starts. For the ’13 Bears, McCown shined, completing nearly 67 percent of his throws and tossing 13 TD passes compared to just one INT in five starts of Cutler relief.

He will turn 38 in July. A Sunday-night PFR poll resulted in readers tabbing a McCown/Jets union as far less likely than the team deploying Cutler come Week 1. That could still happen, but it would likely require the Jets to carry four quarterbacks. Although the Jets aren’t particularly sold yet on the long-term viability of Petty or Hackenberg, it might be a rash decision for either to be cut out of training camp.

The Jets were also linked to Mike Glennon this offseason, but his $15MM-per-year price tag induced them to bow out. Brian Hoyer also intrigued Gang Green, but the 49ers added him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest Between Jets, Josh McCown

Free agent quarterback Josh McCown has left his visit with the Jets, and while the two sides are still in contact, no deal is “imminent,” tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com.Josh McCown (vertical)

New York reportedly did discuss contract parameters with McCown, as Ralph Vacchiano of SNY detailed yesterday, but it doesn’t sound as though the two parties will come together on an agreement anytime soon. McCown is now entering his age-38 season and hasn’t been able to stay healthy in recent seasons, but he’d be able to give the Jets some level of competency at the quarterback position. Geno Smith, who may have been an option for Gang Green, signed with the crosstown rival Giants last week.

Appearing in five games (three starts) for the Browns in 2016, McCown completed 54.5% of his attempts for 1,100 yards, six touchdowns, and six interceptions. He’s also drawn interest from the Cowboys this offseason, and took a visit to Dallas earlier this month.

McCown ranks as PFR’s No. 5 free agent quarterback still on the market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets, Josh McCown Progressing Toward Deal?

Josh McCown‘s Jets visit is continuing into Saturday, and the sides are progressing on talks. Contract parameters have emerged during this visit, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv.

With this powwow going “very well,” Vacchiano notes McCown may now lead the pack in the running to be the next Jets stopgap quarterback. Vacchiano confirms the team remains interested in Jay Cutler while also clearly stating the team has no desire to pursue Colin Kaepernick. A Cutler visit was expected, with the Jets reaching out to the 33-year-old passer this week, but it hasn’t occurred yet.

The 37-year-old McCown (he’ll be 38 by Week 1) profiles as another short-term option after Ryan Fitzpatrick previously served in that role. Cutler started in front of McCown from 2011-13 on the Bears and is viewed as the more talented player, so it would be interesting if the Jets opted to sign McCown before hosting Cutler on a visit. New Jets QBs coach Jeremy Bates coached Cutler in both Denver and Chicago but also instructed McCown during two of McCown’s three years in the Windy City.

Gang Green moved from Mike Glennon to Tyrod Taylor to Brian Hoyer, per Vacchiano, this offseason. Glennon’s price tag “scared off” the Jets, Vacchiano notes, before he received his Bears offer (three years, $45MM). The Jets were also open to re-signing Geno Smith before the Giants added him, per Vacchiano, who adds it’s unlikely the Jets use one of their high draft picks on a quarterback after having taken Christian Hackenberg in the second round last year.

The Cowboys are the other serious suitor to emerge for McCown, having hosted him on a visit. This came after Dallas tried to trade for the veteran passer in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Offense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-25-17, 5:36pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Jay Cutler
  2. Chase Daniel
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  4. Colin Kaepernick
  5. Josh McCown
  6. Robert Griffin III
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Christian Ponder
  11. Blaine Gabbert
  12. Ryan Nassib
  13. Shaun Hill
  14. Kellen Moore
  15. Austin Davis

Tony Romo is not a free agent…at least not yet. If the Cowboys do not find a suitable trade and release him, you’ll find him at the top of this list.

Laugh if you must, but Cutler is far and away the best quarterback available on the open market. While most of this year’s QB-needy teams are done with their free agent shopping, the Jets are still searching for their 2017 starter and no one would make more sense for them than Cutler. He’s not all that far removed from playing solid football and he’s a logical transitional option for the Jets until they can isolate a better, younger option for 2018. Jay Cutler (Vertical)

Kaepernick’s reps wisely told the press that he will be standing for the National Anthem this year. Still, Kaepernick is an outspoken guy who wants to use his platform to discuss hot button issues, so there’s no guarantee that the media circus around him will cease. Jets owner Woody Johnson loves seeing his team on the back pages of the New York tabloids, but even he has to have more sense than to entertain Kaepernick. McCown, who has been contact with the team, would be an okay choice if they can’t get something done with Cutler. Chase Daniel could be an option too, but there isn’t much game film on him.

Needless to say, the No. 3 ranked player on this list isn’t an option in New York.

Running back:

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. LeGarrette Blount
  3. Jamaal Charles
  4. Rashad Jennings
  5. Tim Hightower
  6. DeAngelo Williams
  7. Chris Johnson
  8. Christine Michael
  9. Benny Cunningham
  10. Bobby Rainey
  11. Brandon Bolden
  12. Denard Robinson
  13. James Starks
  14. Matt Asiata
  15. Kenjon Barner

Honorable mention: DuJuan Harris, Antonio AndrewsKhiry Robinson

Adrian Peterson (vertical)The Vikings have moved on and Peterson will not be back in Minnesota. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. When Peterson’s option was declined by the Vikings earlier this month, there were tons of stories (likely sourced by Peterson’s camp) about interest from a litany of contenders. Since then, each team – through anonymous sources – has denied being in the mix for the veteran. It would be easy to doubt Peterson at this juncture, but he has come back from serious injuries multiple times in his career and he is only one year removed from his stellar 2015 campaign. He gets the top spot over the bruising Blount as well as Charles, who hasn’t been healthy in a long while.

Jennings was brought to New York with the idea that he would be the team’s workhorse. Unfortunately, two of his three seasons with the G-Men were marred by injury. Jennings is currently putting his agility to good use on Dancing With The Stars and it remains to be seen how committed he is to football. After that, we have a trio of vets (Hightower, Williams, CJ2K) who could still advance the ball in limited spurts.

In case you’re wondering – Mike Gillislee is not listed here because he is a restricted free agent.

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Jets To Host Josh McCown

The Jets will meet with free agent quarterback Josh McCown on Friday and Saturday, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who reported earlier this week Gang Green had reached out to McCown.Josh McCown (vertical)

McCown is now entering his age-38 season and hasn’t been able to stay healthy in recent seasons, but he’d be able to give the Jets some level of competency at the quarterback position. Geno Smith, who may have been an option for New York, signed with the crosstown rival Giants earlier today. The Jets have also been linked to free agent Jay Cutler and a host of draft prospects as they seek to upgrade under center.

Appearing in five games (three starts) for the Browns in 2016, McCown completed 54.5% of his attempts for 1,100 yards, six touchdowns, and six interceptions. He’s also drawn interest from the Cowboys this offseason, and took a visit to Dallas earlier this month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Reach Out To QB Josh McCown

We’re nearly one week into free agency and the Jets still haven’t resolved their starting quarterback situation. They could be getting closer to figuring out the puzzle, however, Recently, the Jets reached out to Josh McCown‘s camp, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Josh McCown (vertical)

The Jets, Rapoport adds, have “lots of options” for their quarterback spot. That is true, though none of those QB options are particularly inspiring. Jay Cutler probably stands as their best free agent option and the Jets have made contact with his reps. If they can’t wrangle Cutler or McCown, their best option in free agency could wind up being a reunion with Geno Smith. No matter the outcome, this could be a rough year for Jets fans.

McCown made five appearances (three starts) with the Browns last year as he battled injuries. In that small sample, he completed 54.5% of his passes, averaged 6.7 yards per attempt, and threw six touchdowns against six picks. I had McCown listed as one of the ten best quarterbacks on the board at the outset of free agency. Now, with other signal callers off the board, he’s a bit higher in terms of those still available.

McCown recently visited the Cowboys and there is said to be mutual interest between the two parties.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Josh McCown Visiting Cowboys

The Cowboys are looking into finding a backup quarterback for Dak Prescott. Of course, they already have a No. 2 QB, but he might not be around for much longer. The Cowboys are hosting Josh Mccown on a visit today, according to a source who spoke with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Josh McCown

For a while now, there has been talk of mutual interest between Dallas and the veteran signal caller. McCown will turn 38 in July and he certainly has the experience to hold down the fort, if necessary, and also help to mentor Prescott. Unlike Tony Romo, he’s at a point in his career where it makes sense to take on a backup role for a winning club.

McCown made five appearances (three starts) with the Browns last year as he battled injuries. In that small sample, he completed 54.5% of his passes, averaged 6.7 yards per attempt, and threw six touchdowns against six picks. I have McCown listed as one of the ten best quarterbacks available in free agency this week.

Speaking of Romo, here’s the latest on him: He wants to join the Broncos, the Texans‘ front office is split on him, and the Chiefs are not among the clubs with interest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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