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Josh McCown: 'To leave Chicago .. I'm looking to compete to start'

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Could Josh McCown start somewhere other than Chicago? (USATSI)
Could Josh McCown start somewhere other than Chicago? (USATSI)

More NFL offseason: Mock Drafts | Prospect Rankings | Pro Days | Top free agents

With free agency officially opening Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, not many observers expect there to be much movement on what appears to be a weak quarterback class. Aside from Michael Vick, there aren't really any names on that list that would cause a team to throw open its pocketbook (and maybe not even for Vick).

If this were a year ago, Josh Freeman would generate interest, but after a brutal 2013 season, it's unlikely he'll get a ton of money, and Chad Henne, who overtook Blaine Gabbert as the Jaguars starter last year, already has re-signed with Jacksonville.

But here's someone who could join another team in the coming days: Bears quarterback Josh McCown.
McCown -- the 78th-ranked player on the CBSSports.com list -- took over for an injured Jay Cutler in Week 7 of last year, and he started five of the next six games, leading the Bears to a 3-2 record while completing 66.5 percent of his passes on the season for 13 touchdowns and one interception.

Despite the fact he'll be 35 before the 2014 season begins, McCown is coming off the most-productive season of his career, and it's not out of the question that he could find a better spot somewhere other than Chicago.

“To leave Chicago, it'll be a situation where I'm looking to compete to start or to start,” McCown said, via the Chicago Tribune. “And to be able to kind of grow more as a player. And the only way you can do that as a player is on the field. So, that'll definitely be something that we're looking at. We'll see. We'll see what opportunities come and where we're at [Tuesday].”

McCown said four teams have expressed interest in him, and reportedly, those teams could be the Jets, Buccaneers, Texans and Bears. According to the Tampa Bay Times, McCown, if he signs with the Buccaneers, would be given the opportunity to compete with Mike Glennon for the starting job.

But McCown also might have a tough time leaving Chicago because of his bond with Cutler.

“It goes back to what our relationship is,” McCown said. “And really, I have a little brother who plays in the league. So it's no different than if he was playing and I played for him and then he was going to go back in there. I was his biggest fan. I wanted nothing but success for Jay. And I understood my role on the team. And it's vital for people on the team to understand the capacity that they can serve their team in. For me, it was a back-up quarterback. So I serve my team when the starter's out. And then when he's healthy, he comes back.”

But if McCown has the chance to compete for a starting spot, something that won't happen with the Bears but very well could with the Jets and Texans (if they don't draft a starter at No. 1 overall), why wouldn't he take that opportunity?

“If I leave Chicago, if that's the case, then that's the opportunity that I'm looking for and want to evaluate,” McCown said. “And then, once those opportunities come, it's, 'What's the coaching staff? What are the players there in place?' All those things about Chicago that made it come together, those are vital pieces and important things to a quarterback's success. So those are the things I'm going to want to evaluate as we go through this.”

 
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