Josh McCown's outstanding work in place of Jay Cutler last fall earned him a line of suitors when the free agency period began on Tuesday. As it turned out, the first team he visited was the perfect fit as his new NFL home.
McCown is now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer after signing a two-year contract with the team on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after his free agency tour began. McCown joins four other newcomers signed on Tuesday – defensive end
McCown's arrival in Tampa also reunites him with new Buccaneers Head Coach Lovie Smith, who was at the Bears' helm from 2004-12. McCown joined Chicago in 2011, rekindling his NFL career after a year away from the game. He made two starts for Smith's Bears in 2011 but got his first extended action to play last season under new Head Coach Marc Trestman. After Cutler sustained a groin injury in Week Seven, McCown stepped and started five games, keeping Chicago's playoff hopes afloat. The Bears won three of McCown's five starts as the veteran passer compiled a passer rating of 90.7 or better in each of those outings.
Overall, McCown saw action in eight games in 2013, completing 149 of 224 passes (66.5%) for 1,829 yards, 13 touchdowns and just one interception. His career-best passer rating of 109.0 ranked third in the NFL behind only Philadelphia's Nick Foles (119.2) and Denver's Peyton Manning (115.1). McCown also set personal single-season bests in yards per attempt (9.1), touchdown percentage (5.8%) and interception percentage (0.4%).
QB Josh McCown led the Bears to three midseason victories last fall, throwing 13 touchdown passes against just one interception
Before joining the Bears, McCown played four seasons in Arizona (2002-05), one each in Detroit (2006) and Oakland (2007) and two in Carolina (2008-09). Originally a third-round pick by the Cardinals out of Sam Houston State in 2002, McCown has played in 58 career games with 38 starts, with a career-high 13 starts in Arizona in 2004. His career passing totals include 794 completions in 1,337 attempts (59.4%) for 8,827 yards, 50 touchdowns and 45 interceptions. He has also run 152 times for 706 yards and four scores.
With 2013 reserve
McCown also found a destination that has some family ties. Josh's younger brother, Luke, played quarterback for the Buccaneers from 2005-08, starting three games during the 2007 campaign. Luke also become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday after spending the 2013 season backing up Drew Brees in New Orleans.