INDIANAPOLIS – Josh McCown will not be officially in play until the flag goes down for the start of free agency in early March but whiffs of interest in the veteran quarterback already are starting.
The New York Jets, who are on the Bears’ 2014 road schedule, have more than a passing interest in McCown, according to an unsourced report by the New York Daily News.
McCown threw 13 touchdown passes and only one interception in five starts and three relief appearances for the Bears in 2013. The Bears have been clear about wanting him back as Jay Cutler’s backup and McCown, 35, has evinced no real desire to move on, although he will attract more offers than only the Bears’.
“We want him to be a part of our football team,” coach Marc Trestman said. “We recognize how important he is, not just as the backup quarterback but as an influence in our locker room. He’s a great leader and he’s great for our quarterback room as well, which is the most important room in the building.
“Josh has got the opportunity to look around. We want him to be able to do that. He deserves that right. And we’ll see where this thing goes. But Josh is well aware how we feel about him and that we want him back.”
The Jets’ situation is more than a little unsettled, and has been for some time. McCown clearly would have an opportunity to wrest the starting job from Geno Smith, the team’s second-round pick in the 2013 draft. Smith moved into the job because Mark Sanchez was unable to stabilize the position after being the No. 5-overall pick of the 2009 draft.