Mar 12 2014, 8:30pm CDT | by Poch de la Rosa
"Josh McCown's outstanding work in place of Jay Cutler last fall earned him a line of suitors when the free-agency period began on Tuesday. As it turned out, the first team he visited was the perfect fit as his new NFL home.
"McCown is now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer after signing a two-year contract with the team on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after his free agency tour began. McCown joins four other newcomers signed on Tuesday -- defensive end Michael Johnson, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, tight end Brandon Myers and cornerback Alterraun Verner -- and leaps right into the battle for the Buccaneers' starting quarterback spot in 2014."
McCown's two-year deal is valued at $10 million.
According to ESPN, McCown will earn $4.75 million in 2014 and $5.25 million in 2015, citing a league source who informed ESPN's Michael C. Wright. He is also eligible to earn $5 million more in incentives which includes $1 million annually for playing time and an additional $3 million for making the postseason.
"I've known him for a while, got a chance to see him in every situation, as a leader, as a guy coming back from adversity. When you have a little time to reflect o a lot of things and say,'Hey, this next chance, I want to do it right in every way.'
"I wanted to have people that I really knew how they would react in every situation. Josh is just a heck of a guy.
"He's a coach on the field. He's accurate. Great decision-maker: Do I throw it deep, check down, take off and run? You want a quarterback who can throw the ball and one that makes good decisions, and he can do that...
"You have to be the guy that knows how to get everybody going in the right direction. That's what he's done. It's a new year. We have a long way to go, but we'll start it together."
Smith also told Auman he holds second-year play caller Mike Glennon in high esteem, but McCown gets the nod as the starter. Even with McCown in tow, Tampa Bay may still opt to draft a quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft, per Smith.
Auman's colleague at The Tampa Bay Times, Rick Stroud, reports the 34-year-old McCown was planning to visit the New York Jets and Houston Texans but eventually cancelled his plans a day after he arrived in Tampa.
McCown previously played for Smith in 2011 and 2012 -- Smith's last two seasons as head coach of the Chicago Bears.
McCown went 3-2 as a starter and played in a total of eight games for Chicago in 2013. In those five games he started, he filled in for Cutler who had a groin injury and a high ankle sprain, per NFL.com's Adam Schein.
During that stretch, McCown threw for 13 touchdown passes with just one interception. He also completed 66.8 percent of his passes.
McCown was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals 81st overall in the 2002 NFL Draft. He has also taken the field for the Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders in a career that has seen him throw for 8,827 yards, 50 touchdowns and 45 interceptions, per ESPN stats.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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