FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Josh McCown began the season as the best of the Jets’ bad options — a 38-year-old stopgap quarterback symbolic of what appeared to be a lost season. But a lot changes in the course of 17 weeks, and though McCown said goodbye to the training facility for now, it became clear Monday that this farewell could very well be temporary.
“Josh had a great year,” Todd Bowles said. “It would be great to have him back. It’s a business in this league. He has decisions to make. We have decisions to make. Hopefully, they can meet and they can go from there.”
The Jets did not make McCown available to the media Monday, citing a new team rule that precludes players on injured reserve from talking to reporters, but he previously did not rule out returning. He has said he will have to discuss it with his family, but if he does choose to continue his NFL career, he will become one of many unrestricted free agents interested in hitching their future to an organization that now seems capable of building something of substance relatively soon.
“I’m happy,” said cornerback Morris Claiborne, coming off a one-year, $5-million contract. “I’m happy right here. I love everything about this organization, from the equipment staff to the training staff to the coaches. Why pack up and move somewhere else if you’ve got everything here?”
Claiborne said he hopes to re-sign with the Jets before 2017 player contracts expire March 14, avoiding even wading into the free-agent pool. He is one of 16 Jets set for unrestricted free agency on a team projected to have about $80 million in cap space. That, along with three draft picks in the first two rounds, means the Jets have plenty of wiggle room to become a playoff-caliber team.
“I just love everything about [Bowles] — the type of man he is, it makes you want to play for him,” Claiborne said. “I’m enjoying football, enjoying the guys in this locker room. They make it much easier to come to work every morning. I know I’m going to laugh. I know I’m going to have a good time.”
Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins also is set to become a free agent. “I want to be here and I really love Coach Bowles,’’ he said. “I love my teammates. I love the ownership and, most importantly, the city, New York. It’s a really cool, unique place that I would like to call home, not just for however long I end up being here, but for the rest of my life.”
But the biggest uncertainty comes from the players who interest fans the most. Besides McCown, there’s linebacker Demario Davis, coming off the best season of a six-year career. He had 97 tackles and five sacks, both tops on the team.
Davis spoke to the media but sidestepped all free-agency questions.
“We got good character in the locker room. We’ve got good chemistry. I love playing with this group. I’m excited about the future,” Davis said before declining to shed light on whether that will be enough to keep him around. “I enjoy my teammates. I enjoy my coaches. Great organization. I’ve got nothing but high praise for the Jets.”