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Josh McCown to Ravens sounds good at first, but it could be tough sell

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released quarterback Josh McCown on Wednesday.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released quarterback Josh McCown on Wednesday. (Jeff Haynes / Associated Press)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday released veteran quarterback Josh McCown about 11 months after they signed him to a two-year, $10 million deal to be their starter.

The move, which only increases speculation the Buccaneers will use the first overall draft pick on a quarterback, was an expected one after McCown, 35, threw 11 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions in 12 games (11 starts) in 2014.

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It also spurs an obvious question around these parts, one that seemingly arises whenever a player is released elsewhere: Are the Ravens interested?

It makes sense for a couple of reasons:

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One, Tyrod Taylor, Joe Flacco's backup for the past four seasons, is a pending free agent. Flacco has started every game since 2008, so Taylor could be looking for an opportunity elsewhere, where he could get more of a chance to play. That would put the Ravens in the market for a veteran to come into training camp and compete with Keith Wenning for the back-up role. Wenning, a sixth-round NFL draft pick last year who spent the season on the Ravens' practice squad, struggled in training camp and isn't just going to be handed the back-up job a year later.

Two, McCown flourished under new Ravens' offensive coordinator Marc Trestman with the Chicago Bears in 2013. That season, he played in eight games for the Bears, starting five, throwing 13 touchdowns passes and one interception. Having a guy around who is familiar with Trestman would certainly help Flacco in the quarterback meeting room.

However, when you look beyond those factors, there are far more reasons why this isn't going to happen. Let's start with the biggest one – McCown immediately becomes one of the top free agent quarterbacks available, joining the likes of Mark Sanchez, Brian Hoyer and Jake Locker.

The demand for solid quarterbacks far exceeds the supply as a number of teams, including the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans and New York Jets, have question marks at the quarterback position. Sure, McCown is flawed and he's best suited as a backup, but he would be a decent insurance policy for a number of teams.

If you're McCown, do you want to go to a team where you have a chance to start or at least back-up a flawed or injury-prone starter, or do you want to back up Flacco, who hasn't missed a start in his career? It seems like a pretty obvious answer.

And from the Ravens' perspective, they traditionally haven't had an accomplished and well-known backup, at least not since Marc Bulger. A big reason for that is Flacco's durability, but salary cap concerns come into play as well. McCown, who doesn't have to wait until the start of free agency March 10 to sign elsewhere, won't get starting quarterback money, but he'll at least get paid as a top backup.

With cap room at a premium, the Ravens in the past have chosen to spend their money elsewhere rather than on an insurance policy behind Flacco. This offseason will probably be no different, as the Ravens will have to make several cuts or contract alterations to even be in position to be active in free agency. Spending a chunk of money on a backup quarterback probably isn't in the cards.

It looks good on the surface and there's no doubt that McCown would be a decent addition. But both history and opportunity suggest that it probably won't be the Ravens that end up with McCown.

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