NFL Free Agent Rumors: Josh McCown Wants to Start; Raiders, Cardinals, Dolphins Shuffling Tackles

Josh McCown
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

After a remarkable stint filling in for the injured Jay Cutler last season, Josh McCown is one of the most coveted free agent quarterbacks on the market this offseason. Four teams have surfaced as the main landing spots for the soon-to-be 35-year-old, but teams interested in him only as a serviceable backup may have to look elsewhere.

In an interview with ESPN Radio Monday morning, McCown said if he doesn’t re-sign with the Chicago Bears, he’d like to join a team where he has the opportunity to start.

“To leave Chicago, it will be a situation where I’m looking to compete to start or to start and be able to kind of grow more as a player,” he told ESPN’s “Mike & Mike.” “The only way as a player that you can do that is on the field. That will definitely be something that we are looking at. So we’ll see. We’ll see what opportunities come and where we are at tomorrow.”

The four teams believed to be courting McCown are the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans, and New York Jets, according to the report. And to get the veteran signal caller, the price has been set. Last week, Chad Henne and Matt Cassel received two-year deals worth $8 million and $10 million from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings, respectively. Last year, McCown made the $840,000 veteran minimum in Chicago.

The top-rated offensive tackles appear to be on a carousel this offseason. Branden Albert of the Kansas City Chiefs, Jared Veldheer of the Oakland Raiders, and Rodger Saffold of the St. Louis Rams headline the list of free agents at the position and could be on their way out the door, but to the same teams losing their offensive line anchors.

Albert is expected to sign first and set the market for the tackles. All signs point to Albert signing with the tackle-needy Miami Dolphins as soon as free agency officially gets underway Tuesday morning.

The Arizona Cardinals made tackle and specifically Albert a top offseason priority, but now will reportedly turn their attention to Veldheer. According to, Veldheer could be a better pass protector that’ll cost the team a lesser price. And should Veldheer leave Oakland, the Raiders will shift focus onto Saffold, who is being viewed as both a guard and tackle in free agency.

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