The quarterback-needy New York Jets finally added experience to their young depth chart, signing Josh McCown to a one-year contract on Monday night. The $6 million deal is fully guaranteed, a source said.
McCown, 37, spent the weekend visiting the Jets, but left Sunday without a contract. The two sides agreed to continue talks. At the same time, the Jets hosted free agent Chase Daniel on a visit Monday.
McCown can earn an additional $7 million with incentives, according to a source. He receives $125,000 for each game in which he plays at least 50 percent of the snaps -- a maxiumum of $2 million. He earns another $2 million if the team makes the playoffs, another $1.5 million if they reach the Super Bowl and another $1.5 million if they win the Super Bowl -- based on 65-percent play time in each of those scenarios.
McCown, who will be playing for his eighth team in 15 seasons, joins one of the most unstable quarterback situations in the NFL. The others under contract are Bryce Petty, recovering from surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, and Christian Hackenberg.
Their projected roles weren't immediately clear. Coach Todd Bowles said at the scouting combine that Hackenberg and Petty will have a chance to compete for the starting job. McCown has to be considered the favorite, based on his experience, but the short-term contract allows flexibility.
The Jets invested a second-round pick in Hackenberg, but he saw no action as a rookie. Petty went 1-3 last season after replacing demoted starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he posted the league's lowest Total QBR (minimum: 100 attempts). He should resume throwing next month, the team has said.
The Jets turned to McCown after showing interest in free agents Mike Glennon (Chicago Bears), Brian Hoyer (San Francisco 49ers) and Jay Cutler, who was slated to visit the Jets later this week, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Their top quarterbacks last season were Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith, but they're both free agents. The Jets decided to move on from Fitzpatrick, benched twice, and Smith is close to signing with the New York Giants.
Basically, the Jets were desperate. They likely see McCown as a bridge quarterback until Hackenberg or Petty is ready -- or perhaps a future draft pick. McCown is regarded as a good mentor for young quarterbacks.
McCown, who was released by the Cleveland Browns last month after two seasons, has bounced around the league as mainly a backup, having amassed only 60 career starts (18-42).
He was the opening day starter in 2014 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 2015 for the Browns, eventually losing the job due to performance. He has lost 20 of his past 22 starts, spanning the past three seasons.
In five games last season, McCown completed 90 of 165 passes (54.5 percent) for 1,100 yards, six touchdowns, six interceptions and a meager 72.3 passer rating.