Buccaneers Sign Josh McCown
The Bucs signed veteran Josh McCown and declared him their starting quarterback. How does this move affect the fantasy landscape in Tampa?
Buccaneers Sign Josh McCown
The Buccaneers signed QB Josh McCown to a two-year, $10 million contract. The former Bear filled in well for the injured Jay Cutler late in 2013 and was seemingly brought in to Tampa to compete with second-year man Mike Glennon. However, the Bucs’ newly minted coach Lovie Smith stepped up right away and declared McCown his 2014 starter.
A 34-year-old journeyman now joining the sixth team of his NFL career, he possesses an extremely shaky resume outside of his 2013 surge. Going into last season, his career numbers included 37 touchdowns and 44 interceptions.
And much of his newfound success was credited to Bears coach Marc Trestman, whose wing McCown will no longer be under. Instead, new Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford will be tasked with coaching him up.
Even if McCown’s success was a product of the offensive system, his 2013 numbers are tough to dismiss. He started five games and played partial snaps in three others, altogether equaling six games worth of snaps. During that stretch, he threw for 1,829 yards, 13 touchdowns, and one measly interception. That’s 305 yards and two touchdowns per game.
Extrapolate that six-game stretch over a 16-game season, and McCown would’ve finished with nearly 4,900 yards and 35 touchdowns. Both of those totals would’ve placed him third behind only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.
Simply put, he was good nearly everywhere you want your quarterback to be good. His 109.0 NFL Passer Rating was third behind Nick Foles and Peyton Manning. His 72 percent completion rate ranked fourth. His 0.56 fantasy points per dropback ranked fifth.
But now he won’t be in Trestman’s QB-friendly system. That’s one problem. Another problem is that he’ll no longer be throwing to fantasy’s tag team champions, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Instead, he’ll be throwing to Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams (maybe), Brandon Myers, Tim Wright, and whoever else the Bucs come up with in the next few months.
Tampa’s offensive weapons
Vincent Jackson was able to put up numbers even with Mike Glennon and Josh Freeman, so he doesn’t figure to see a drop-off. He is 31 years old, so a drop-off is coming not too far down the line, but he still has some fantasy juice left in him.
Mike Williams seems just as likely to knucklehead his way out of the league as he is to ever work with McCown, but he’s a bounceback candidate if he miraculously gets his nose clean and McCown doesn’t flop.
Brandon Myers showed some flashes in Oakland in 2012, but turned in an utterly uninspiring performance with the Giants in 2013. He’ll contribute, but he’s not the answer to Tampa’s tight end woes.
Tim Wright outplayed expectations during his rookie season, but the new coaching staff doesn’t seem high on him.
Outside of Jackson, who could easily be a WR1 with competent quarterback play, the current Bucs’ roster doesn’t hold a pass-catcher who figures to make a big splash on the fantasy scene, even if McCown proves the doubters wrong and continues to build on his 2013 success.
As for McCown himself, proceed with caution. Not too many quarterbacks have suddenly experienced a breakout on the wrong side of 30. He has a shot to hold some fantasy value, but now that he’s working outside of Trestman’s system and no longer has Marshall and Jeffery to throw to, fantasy owners should not chase last year’s numbers.
Mike Glennon’s future
Glennon will head to the bench, perhaps mumbling, “Hey, I wasn’t that bad.” And he’d be right. He did OK for himself considering the circumstances, and he’ll likely get another shot down the road, perhaps even in 2014.
Chicago’s QB depth
McCown’s departure leaves a hole behind Jay Cutler on the Bears’ quarterback depth chart. The Bears recently signed Jordan Palmer, but he has never shown even a glimpse of starter-level talent. He’s a poor option as a Cutler insurance policy. Look for Chicago to acquire another quarterback through free agency or the draft.
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Johnny B. Davis is a staff writer for PFF Fantasy. He likes to root out raw, young dynasty talent and spread the gospel of IDP. Follow Johnny on Twitter @JohnnyBDavis