The Houston Texans expect to have veteran quarterback Josh McCown around for more than this just this season, sources said, with the beloved veteran identified as someone who could help change the culture there and be a sounding board for Deshaun Watson during a trying time in the organization.
The 41-year old quarterback, who has been interacting remotely with the Eagles and their quarterback, Carson Wentz, as a member of the team's practice squad, signed a two-year deal to join the Texans active roster, league sources said, with Texans executive Jack Easterby identifying McCown as someone who could help change the vibes inside that facility in the aftermath of firing coach/general manager Bill O'Brien.
Houston's locker room chemistry and the overall esprit de corps within that organization has been an issue for years under O'Brien's leadership. The tension and angst have been palpable and poured over into several pointed interactions between players and O'Brien, and Easterby has been charged with trying to smooth things over in the interim as the team searches for a new coach and GM.
He has long been a fan of McCown's. McCown has been immensely popular throughout his long and well-traveled career and he has generally been a factor for positive change. He has also been a tremendous sounding board for young quarterbacks, as a student of the game who has seen it from all sides, and Watson's long-term development is paramount for an organization that is now paying him roughly $40M per year.
McCown served an important role with the Eagles, with his relationship with Carson Wentz of primary importance to the organization and the driving force for having him on the practice squad despite living in Texas. Wentz has struggled this season, despite the counseling and mentorship from McCown, and sources said the veteran agonized overtaking the Texans contract, despite it being for multiple years and with the opportunity to be near his Texas home and be back in a locker room and practicing without having to leave his family.
McCown has been coaching a high school team where his sons play and did not want to leave and while the Eagles did not want to lose him they ultimately understood and urged him to relish the chance to get back on the field in at least a back-up capacity. With a two-year deal, it makes it increasingly likely any new Texans regime would want to keep him around as he works with Watson.
McCown remains very much on the Eagles' radar as a potential quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator soon after he retires, sources said, and they are among a handful of teams that believe McCown will be an NFL head coach within three-to-five years of retiring as a player.