Lichtenstein: McCown Signing Signals Jets Have Already Given Up On 2017

Soon-To-Be 38-Year-Old QB May Be A Good Guy, But He In No Way Justifies Woody's Ridiculous PSL Prices

By Steve Lichtenstein
» More Columns

While I continue to hold the opinion that the only possible way for the Jets to escape their perennial doldrums is to tank the upcoming season to ensure a top selection in a quarterback-friendly 2018 draft, the following is for those who held out hope that spending four months watching this team wouldn’t be another colossal waste of time.

I get that there are folks, especially those who pay Gang Green owner Woody Johnson’s extortive prices for the privilege (abuse) of entering PSL Stadium, who just want the Jets to be the best they can be every season.

Unfortunately for those fans, the Jets’ signing of quarterback Josh McCown on Monday was just another kick to their collective nether regions.

Look up the word “journeyman” in the dictionary and there will be a picture of McCown, who will be 38 when he puts on his eighth different NFL uniform this September. He has gone 18-42 in his 60 career starts, including 2-20 over the last three seasons.

Granted, he’s played for a good number of lousy teams, but it’s not like he ever elevated any of them to a higher standard.

And with the Jets, he’s not going to have the support that he had when he enjoyed limited success playing in Chicago four years ago. The Jets’ offensive line is one enormous question mark and the receivers, especially if Eric Decker isn’t asked back, are relatively raw.

McCown has subpar arm strength and has been known to be erratic on his throws. While he has some escapability in his legs, he takes an awful lot of sacks.

For those who are clinging to the Jets’ spin of McCown being a “good guy” in the locker room for fellow quarterbacks Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg to emulate, I’d rather have someone who can actually play. I can picture McCown coming back to the sideline to give his understudies some advice by saying, ”See how I held on to the ball too long there and got strip-sacked? Don’t do that.”

OK, so general manager Mike Maccagnan didn’t have many scrumptious choices on the free agency menu to fill the “bridge quarterback” position previously occupied by Ryan Fitzpatrick. The selection of McCown, however, is bound to bring on bouts of agonizing abdominal pain among Jets fans.

I suggested Jay Cutler a few weeks back as an alternative who could have provided fans with a few thrills here and there if he were willing to come here on a one-year trial. I know, he’s the poster child for bad body language, so he wasn’t given a meeting with the Jets.

I briefly mentioned Colin Kaepernick, whose win-loss record the past couple of years has been very McCown-ish, but prior to that was at least been good enough to lead a team to a Super Bowl. You don’t have to be Spike Lee, who railed against the NFL in an Instagram post on Monday, to believe something “MAD fishy” is going on with Kaepernick. I know, he made a political statement before some games contrary to Johnson’s world view, so he wasn’t given a meeting with the Jets.

At least Maccagnan didn’t break the salary cap bank to get McCown’s signature. The one-year contract calls for a $6 million guarantee plus $7 million in incentives, including $1.5 million if the Jets make the Super Bowl with McCown playing 65 percent of the snaps and another $1.5 million if the Jets actually win the big game.

Why not make it $1.5 billion?

No matter who the Jets acquired, they’d have about as much chance of reaching the grandest stage next season as I have of ever dunking on a regulation basketball hoop.

With McCown, however, we’re in for another one of those Bubby Brister/Geno Smith hellish slogs through the end of the year.

I’m fairly confident we’ll get to see Petty receive more reps somewhere down the road, either due to injury or “Why the heck not?” Maybe Hackenberg will be taught how to play the position at some point and also get a shot or two on the field.

By then Jets fans will be focused on college games, looking to the future and hoping the franchise will one day bring them a legitimate quarterback to root for.

For a FAN’s perspective of the Nets, Jets and the NHL, follow Steve on Twitter @SteveLichtenst1

More From CBS New York

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
Get Our Morning Briefs

Watch & Listen LIVE