Chicago Bears backup QB Josh McCown was very recently out of football. Right now, he’s the reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week and the league leader in QBR. And he’s the backup to Jay Cutler. Given his performance this season, Josh McCown has obviously raised his value immensely. Factor in the fact that so few talented QBs ever hit the open market and a bunch of top flight college QB prospects are returning to school, and McCown will now get a major raise.
And if the Bears want to keep him they’ll likely have to at the very minimum quadruple or quintuple his salary. It’s all because of the way the contract of Josh McCown is structured.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, formerly of NFL Network explains the situation:
So, there is literally nothing the Bears can do between now and March, when the free-agent market opens, to negotiate with McCown. He is assured of hitting the market, and with so many college quarterbacks getting hurt and/or staying in school, and a shallow pool of NFL free-agent passers, an informal poll of GMs left me very confident McCown will have suitors.
Had the Bears offered him literally $840,001 (and not $840,000) when signing him, they could have protected their right to extend his deal. Had they put in a bonus package that rewarded him per start, they could have retained the ability to work out a deal with McCown in January or February — after the season but before free agency begins.
That’s right $1. Yes 100 cents more would have been enough to change the negotiation game. That’s all it would have taken. La Canfora wrote a must read piece. He explains that Josh McCown is probably going to command around $3.5-$5 million per season in his next contract this spring. He also writes that had Marc Trestman started Josh McCown over Jay Cutler, and had Josh led the Bears into the playoffs, we would be talking around $8 million per. So Josh McCown is as good as gone. Or at least you won’t have both Josh McCown and Cutty back. Because Bears GM Phil Emery said he’s not interested in franchise tagging Cutler. And if Jay returns then he’s likely going to demand Matt Stafford or Tony Romo type money. I’m sure his agent is aware that Cutler can easily fetch that in the open market.
I mean look at how much Josh McCown will make!
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and RSS Catch him Tuesdays talking Illini and Northwestern for KOZN 1620 The Zone, Fridays talking Chicago Bears for WAOR 95.7 The FanPowered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks