Bears bring back quarterback Josh McCownContinue reading.
Marc Trestman: Bears will do everything to keep backup QB Josh McCown
INDIANAPOLIS — Bears coach Marc Trestman communicates with quarterback Josh McCown all the time. There are weekly chats on the phone and also frequent text-message exchanges.
“He’s in the loop to what’s going on,” Trestman said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I just called him on a personal level just to catch up with him and to see how he sees the league and what’s going on. We just like to talk football.
“But he knows exactly where he stands with us. I think he’s going to take his time, see where things are at and when he’s ready to say, ‘I want to come back.’ I know [general manager] Phil [Emery] is going to do everything he can and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure he is.”
McCown has an expiring deal and can’t be re-signed before free agency opens March 11 because he was signed to the veteran minimum in 2013. But the Bears do have exclusive negotiating rights, while providing a situation with Trestman, Jay Cutler and the Bears’ offensive scheme, that the 34-year-old McCown appreciates at this point in his career.
That said, his stellar play last season warrants a major raise and plenty of teams are expected to be calling in free agency.
McCown played extremely well in place of an injured Cutler last season. He had a 109.0 passer rating in five starts and eight total appearances, completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,829 yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception.
“We’ve all said we want Josh,” Trestman said. “We want him to be a part of our football team. We recognize how important he is not just as the backup quarterback but as an influence in our locker room. He’s a great leader. He’s great for our quarterback room as well, which is the most important room in the building.
“Josh has got the opportunity to look around. We want him to be able to do that. He deserves that right. I think Phil has said that, and we’ll see where this thing goes. But Josh is well aware about how we feel about him and that we’d like him back.”
Backup quarterbacks are making considerable money across the league. Dolphins backup Matt Moore got a two-year, $8 million deal. In 2012, the Bears gave Jason Campbell $3.5 million to back up Cutler.
McCown made $865,000 (including a $25,000 bonus) in 2013, but since it’s a minimum contract, he counted only $580,000 against the cap. According to the collective bargaining agreement, a minimum contract also prevents him from getting a new deal from the Bears before free agency opens.
Emery shrugged off a question about Cutler’s new seven-year deal with a $22.5 million salary-cap hit for 2014 hindering him from keeping McCown.
“Obviously, there’s a pool of money available under our cap in each and every year,” Emery said. “We’ll just continue to work through that and to collectively sign the best players available that we can work out through that pool, through that cap, to produce the best team possible.
“It’s a great challenge, and it’s the one that we all sign up for. It is an opportunity to put together a team and be consistently in the hunt to win championships and win one.”