The Philadelphia Eagles signed veteran journeyman quarterback Josh McCown. He agreed to a one-year deal with the team Saturday and will return for his 18th season after a short retirement. According to Adam Schefter, McCown will resume his broadcasting career at ESPN next year.
The Eagles haven’t confirmed the move, but Schefter reports that he inked a one-year deal worth up to $5.4 million, including $2 million fully guaranteed. McCown will join the team immediately (assuming he passes a physical) and serve as Carson Wentz’s primary backup until Nate Sudfeld is healed up from his wrist injury.
McCown, who served as Sam Darnold’s backup for the New York Jets in 2018, has spent time with 10 different teams in a long career that has spanned two decades. The 40-year-old has played in 99 games, including 76 starts, and has thrown for 17,707 yards with 98 touchdowns against 82 interceptions. McCown made three starts for the Jets last season and went 60-of-110 (54.5% completion percentage) for 539 passing yards and one touchdown.
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McCown enjoyed one of his finest seasons as a starting quarterback in 2017 when he threw for 2,926 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Jets. Despite his success in New York, the team elected to draft Darnold the following year and McCown was left holding the clipboard. McCown has enjoyed moderate success in the league, especially during his stint with the Cleveland Browns where he put together a string of three straight 300-yard passing games. He has earned multiple AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
McCown Ending Short NFL Retirement
McCown announced his retirement from the NFL on June 17, 2019 in a heartfelt farewell letter published by The Players Tribune where he detailed his football journey, from being drafted as a 22-year-old kid by the Arizona Cardinals to his undying affection for his high school quarterbacks coach Matt Turner. He called it “One Heck of a Journey” and even confided that he didn’t mind the dreaded “journeyman” quarterback label. In fact, McCown owned it and embraced it.
“So if you would have told me back then that I would go on to play for 10 different NFL teams over the next 17 years, I would have said, “Shoot, 17 years? I’ll take it.”
“But 10 different teams? No way….”
I guess it just goes to show that you don’t always get to choose your own path. But looking back, I’m proud of how my career has gone. I don’t shy away from the journeyman label. I embrace it, full force.”
McCown has seen and done it all in a 17-year career that has landed him in Detroit, Cleveland, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Arizona, New York, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Oakland and now Philadelphia. He mentored many young quarterbacks along the way, but none was more special than the bond he shared with Sam Darnold. McCown immediately took an interest in the rookie’s personal life, something that hopefully he’ll replicate with the Eagles’ Nate Sudfeld.
“It’s cool to have him in my corner, giving me tips and advice whenever I need it,” Darnold told ESPN in 2018. “My parents know how much he’s helped me throughout the whole process,” Darnold said. “He’s been nothing but the best. I tell my parents all the time how awesome it is to have a guy like Josh.”
McCown Has Chemistry with Alshon Jeffery
One of the places McCown enjoyed success was in Chicago where he started seven games for the Bears over three seasons. He went 4-3 in those starts while passing for 2,243 yards and 15 touchdowns, including an epic 45-28 shredding of the Cowboys in 2013. McCown targeted Alshon Jeffery nine times in that game and the receiver finished with five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.
“I’m just trying to give him a chance to go up and make the play but not really put the ball in jeopardy, so to speak,” McCown told reporters. “My part was relative easy to the catch.”
The amazing chemistry between McCown and Jeffery was noticeable and continued to grow during the 2013 season. In a 23-20 overtime loss to Minnesota that year, McCown hit Jeffery on a perfectly-placed ball on an 80-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Jeffery had 249 yards and two scores in that one.
Earlier this summer, McCown was asked about choosing one wide receiver to throw to with the game on the line. His pick? Not surprisingly, Jeffery. The two are now teammates once again on the Eagles. It should be a fun ride.