Josh McCown may have had opportunities to return to the NFL since he announced his retirement in June, but nothing fit well enough for McCown to consider giving up retirement and a cushy job at ESPN – until the Eagles reached out to him and made him an offer to join a team that had the right mix for him to return to the game.
McCown grabbed his spikes, jumped on the first available flight, and arrived at the NovaCare Complex on Saturday afternoon, his NFL career resumed after a two-month hiatus. For the Eagles, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with McCown on Saturday is another smart, strategic move, adding a quarterback with 76 starts in a career that began in 2002. McCown is known around the league as a consummate team guy, a mentor to everybody in the locker room.
The Eagles are McCown's 12th team (including one year in the United Football League and one stint in the preseason with the Miami Dolphins) and 2019 is his 17th season in the NFL.
So, why is McCown an Eagle? Simply put, the Eagles are treating quarterback like every other position on a roster that they continue to attack vigorously. Of course, there are some extenuating circumstances at the position with Nate Sudfeld recovering – very much on schedule, it should be noted – from a broken left wrist suffered in the preseason opener against Tennessee and with Cody Kessler in concussion protocol after taking a blindside hit in the win over Jacksonville on Thursday night. To make room for him on the roster, the Eagles waived wide receiver Braxton Miller.
McCown, who in all of his years in the NFL has been on exactly one team (the 2008 Carolina Panthers) that reached the postseason, comes in and adds tremendous value to the quarterback room. He's someone for every one of the quarterbacks to lean on, and he gives head coach Doug Pederson an added layer of security behind starter Carson Wentz. McCown is a veteran with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and the understanding of how it all works in an NFL locker room.
In 2018, McCown was a backup with the New York Jets, helping their first-round draft pick Sam Darnold navigate the NFL's rookie waters. McCown ended up playing in four games and starting three. A year earlier, McCown had one of the best seasons in his career, playing in 15 games with 13 starts and completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 2,926 yards, 18 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. McCown also scored five touchdowns on the ground.
He's experienced, he's hungry to reach the postseason, and McCown has a live arm. It's not going to take him much time at all to get up to speed, which is a good thing because the Eagles don't have a whole lot of time to get him ready for the regular season.
As they've done with every roster group, the Eagles saw an opportunity to upgrade their depth at quarterback and made their pitch to McCown, who made the decision to give up the ESPN life and come to Philadelphia.
It's a perfect fit, and it certainly adds a talented arm, an experienced body and mind, a team-first player, and someone who is in every way an asset to the Eagles. In turn, the Eagles are giving McCown a rebirth of his NFL career and a chance to be part of an extremely competitive team.
And now when you look at the team's quarterback situation, well, it's just become a lot more experienced and talented and NFL-tested for the long grind of a season ahead.