The Chicago Bears re-signed quarterback Josh McCown and waived tight end Brody Eldridge on Tuesday. McCown played in three games for Chicago last season (he started two) and completed 35 of 55 passes (63.6%) for 414 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. He spent the 2012 offseason on the Bears’ training camp roster.
During the Bears’ loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football, starting quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a concussion and was pulled from the game at the half. His status is unknown for Week-11—a Monday Night Football match-up (the Bears’ third this season) against the San Francisco 49ers.
The smart money says Cutler will likely sit out against the 49ers, and that makes way for back-up quarterback Jason Campbell to take over as the starter. With Campbell in as the teams’ starting QB, they needed a backup—if only temporarily. They will look to McCown to provide that.
When word came that the Bears were interested in re-signing McCown, many folks took to telling fans the move was indicative of the severity of Jay Cutler’s injury and that it likely meant he’d miss multiple games. And while Cutler may indeed miss multiple games, it’s also possible he plays on Monday night. The point is that the signing of McCown is simply not an indicator of that.
The Bears understand—from experience, mind you—the importance of having a capable backup QB in every situation, and certainly McCown gives them more stability at the position than Matt Blanchard would coming off the Scout Team. In all honesty, this was a move we told fans could happen.
Back in early September, I tweeted in response to a fan asking why the Bears only kept two quarterbacks, explaining their options, saying they could very well re-sign Josh McCown off the street should they wind up in a bad situation. My pointing that out is not an attempt at boastfulness; it is simply to say that this move should not have come as a surprise to other folks “in-the-know” who are reading phony tea leaves.
It wouldn’t have made any sense for the Bears to carry McCown on their roster throughout the season, however, if they didn’t need him. The Bears and McCown knew there would be mutual interest in a situation such as the one they are in now and made the smart move to terminate his contract in late August.
Having said all of that, don’t now be surprised if the Bears do carry McCown as insurance for the remainder of the season. Here’s a little more background on the veteran QB for those interested . . .
McCown has started 33 of 50 games played in nine NFL seasons with the Cardinals (2002-05), Lions (2006), Raiders (2007), Panthers (2008-09) and Bears (2011) after entering the league as a third round selection (81st overall) by Arizona in the 2002 Draft. The 6-4, 213-pound quarterback out of Sam Houston State has completed 645 of 1,113 (58.0 percent) passing attempts during his NFL career for 6,998 yards, 37 touchdowns and 44 interceptions for a 71.2 passer rating.