This is the first part of an in-depth series that will examine the status of the top Chicago Bears free agents.
The Bears have 26 free agents, including 22 unrestricted free agents this off-season. We will start with the offensive side of the ball for the Bears.
Who: QB Josh McCown, 34-year-old from Sam Houston State
2013 Stats: 1,829 passing yards, 13 TD's, one INT, 66.5 completion percentage and a 109 QB rating
2013 contract: one-year deal, $865,000
"My intention is to play. I feel good," he said on ESPN Radio. "It's a family decision to figure out what's the best way how to do that."
The guy is a true pro. McCown took the next man up mentality to a whole new level in 2013 and made the most of his opportunity as the starter, going 3-2 in the process. He even earned an NFC Offensive Player of the Week honor for his 348-yard, four-touchdown performance on Monday Night Football against Dallas.
Every team wants a Josh McCown on their roster not just the Bears. The need for a true football player like him is very high, especially at the quarterback position.
"Love to have Josh back," Bears GM Phil Emery said. "I've expressed that to him. Josh, through his play, has earned the right to have choices. And he'll have a lot of them. He does know that he has a home here and we'll do everything that we can to make it work, if he decides he still wants to play here."
Why will he be back?
Even though he can't officially be signed until March 11, the beginning of the new league year, the Bears would be wise to sign McCown as soon as they are allowed to. Not only is he affordable, but he's a tremendous backup in Marc Trestman's system. He proved that time and time again last season filling in for the banged up Jay Cutler. McCown wants to be back and Emery wants him back, what else is there to say about his future. McCown will be back in Chicago in 2014, serving as Cutler's main backup once again.
Why won't he be back?
Every team in the NFL is looking for a solid veteran quarterback to serve as their main backup. With the market thin at quarterback this off-season, McCown should get offers from teams like Green Bay, Cleveland, Minnesota, New York Jets and Giants, Tampa Bay, who all saw what life was like without a star or with a star injured. Teams with more salary cap space might be inclined to offer McCown a bigger deal solely based off of his impressive 2013 play. It would then be up to McCown to turn down those offers, that will likely be higher than what the Bears will dish out. The Bears will likely be offering McCown a one-year deal worth over $1 million. However, Emery and the Bears did shell out $3.5 million in 2012 to make Jason Campbell the backup, so McCown could earn somewhere in the range of $1.5-$3 million depending upon his demand around the league.
Up Next: Center Roberto Garza
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