The Jets finally have found a veteran quarterback, and perhaps their starter for 2017.
Days after treating Josh McCown and his wife to a high-priced meal in Manhattan, the organization signed the former Brown to a one-year, fully-guaranteed $6 million deal, a source told Newsday Monday night.
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Per the terms of the contract: McCown will receive $125,000 for each game that he plays 50 percent or more of the snaps — at a $2 million maximum. He’ll also receive an additional $2 million if the Jets make the playoffs with him playing 65 percent of the time, another $1.5 million if they reach the Super Bowl with him playing 65 percent of the time and $1.5 million if they win the Super Bowl with him playing 65 percent of the time.
After losing out on their top target Mike Glennon and flirting with potential fall-backs Tyrod Taylor, Jay Cutler and Chase Daniel, the Jets finally settled on McCown as their new signal-caller.
After entrusting Ryan Fitzpatrick with their offense for the past two seasons, the Jets will now turn to another NFL journeyman to command the huddle or groom their two youngsters for the starting job.
McCown, who will turn 38 on July 4, is known best for being a good locker room guy and will serve as mentor for current Jets quarterbacks Bryce Petty, 25, and Christian Hackenberg, 22, as well as other young players.
“Beast!!! My young receivers are in great hands!!” former Jets receiver Brandon Marshall tweeted at McCown, his former teammate in Chicago.
But while McCown’s tutelage is undoubtedly an asset in the QB room, his accuracy and production will determine whether he’ll suit up as the Week 1 starter.
The Jets will be his eight NFL teams since he was drafted in the third round by the Arizona Cardinals in 2002. McCown was released by the Browns last month after spending two seasons with Cleveland.
Over the past three seasons with Tampa Bay and Cleveland, he’s 2-20 as a starter. Overall, he’s 18-42 in 60 career starts.
But his transition to the Jets should be much smoother given his existing relationship with new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who previously was an assistant in Chicago when McCown was Cutler’s backup.
News of McCown’s new deal came just hours after sources confirmed to Newsday that fellow free-agent quarterback Chase Daniel planned to visit the Jets on Monday. But a source indicated to Newsday on Sunday that, even though McCown and his wife left the Tri-State area without a contract, contract talks between both sides would continue.
And on the same day former Jets starter-turned-discarded backup Geno Smith signed a one-year, $2 million with the crosstown rival Giants, the Jets were welcoming McCown to the organization.
It was clear the organization would be in the market for a veteran after parting ways with Fitzpatrick after his disastrous 2016 season, which included a 3-8 record as a starter, 12 touchdowns passes and 17 interceptions (including six in one game).
But Mike Maccagnan’s offseason plan was anything but clear. Last month at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Jets general manager said “all options are on the table” when it comes to finding a quarterback. And after being unable to land Glennon, who signed a three-year, $45 million contract with the Chicago Bears, and Taylor, who restructured his contract to remain in Buffalo, the Jets expressed interest in Brian Hoyer (now with the 49ers), Cutler, McCown and Daniel.
Though Cutler was expected to visit the team’s facility, the meeting never took place.
The addition of McCown doesn’t necessarily mean the Jets — who currently hold the No. 6 pick in the draft — are done cornering the QB market. During the Combine they met many of the top draft prospects, including Deshaun Watson (Clemson), Mitchell Trubisky (North Carolina), Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) and DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame).