NFL

NFL AM: McCown Could Be A Target For Broncos

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Broncos Should Inquire About McCown

Just like when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, current Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown likely finds himself as the odd man out.

McCown was never going to be “the man” in Cleveland, more like the guy who grooms “the man.”  With the Browns holding the No. 2 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, it was expected that he would be the placeholder.

“Even if you draft a young guy, he can be a placeholder and play well if the young guy’s not ready, or be a backup,” said a source close to new Browns coach Hue Jackson. “He’s like Jon Kitna in Cincinnati for [coach] Marvin [Lewis]. It’s the same exact situation that Marvin came into.”

When Cleveland signed free agent quarterback Robert Griffin III on Friday, McCown’s future with the team appeared to be over.

“He’s not going to be the reason why we don’t try to get better, and he’s not the reason why we’re trying to get better,” Jackson said this week, via The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We’re just going to unturn every rock that we can, as I said, at every position and see how it fits for us, and then we’ll make those decisions as we go.”

To “un-turn” the best possible stone for Jackson and the Browns franchise, their first phone call should be to John Elway in Denver.

Elway was reportedly flirting with San Francisco for the services of Colin Kaepernick as he’s facing a quarterback quandary after Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler fled to Houston for much greener pastures.  It doesn’t appear as if the Broncos want to pay the price free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick is demanding and McCown could very well be their best option.

The soon-to-be 37-year old veteran is under contract for two more years at a bargain basement price of $4.375 million for the 2016 season and just $3.625 million for 2017.

The reason he’s a bargain is because of how the quarterback market has blown up over the past year.  A solid backup like Chase Daniel just signed a deal in Philadelphia averaging $7 million annually.  McCown is a starting caliber player and last season in one of the most dysfunctional situations in the NFL he completed 63.7 percent of his throws for 2,109 yards with 12 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

The Broncos won the Super Bowl with a quarterback in Manning that was simply a turnover machine.  As ludicrous as it sounds, McCown is a superior player to what the future Hall of Famer Manning was last season.  He’s a calming influence in the huddle and a player that can manage a football team.

What would it take to get McCown to Denver?

Elway was reportedly offering a fourth-round pick to San Francisco (which the team doesn’t have) for Kaepernick, who is a full 8 years younger than McCown.  The Cleveland signal caller’s contract makes him a more attractive option, as well as the certainty of what you get- A good, but not great quarterback who you can depend on.

If it means offering a third-round draft pick to the Browns for McCown, or rolling into the season with Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback, it seems pretty clear that a third isn’t exactly too much to give up.

Is Norman Worth The Money?

The definition of the value of anything is what someone is willing to pay for it.

What are the Carolina Panthers willing to pay for the services of Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman?

The team placed the franchise tag on Norman which would guarantee him $13.95 million for the 2016 season if and when he decides to sign it.  With that money “in his proverbial pocket,” he is reportedly seeking a contract that averages $16 million annually.

“I can’t report if I haven’t signed anything so I don’t feel as if I’m at the point where I’m ready to get back to working right now,” Norman told NFL Network.

Obviously he was a key part of the Panthers defense, but would Norman fetch that kind of money on the open market, assuming the team didn’t place the tag on him?

Janoris Jenkins was the highest paid cornerback in free agency and he received a five-year, $62.5 million deal with $28.8 million in guaranteed money by the New York Giants.

Norman is a better football player than Jenkins, but how much better?  He is 28 years old and this could be his last opportunity for the big payday that eluded him when he was a fifth-round pick back in 2012.

Although he is outspoken and plays in the Panthers zone system to near perfection, not all of his peers believe he is “elite.”

“People say Josh Norman is tough, don’t get me wrong he’s a good player, but they play Cover 2,” Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones told Football Insiders after the team’s victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in December.  “If you want to be a lock-down corner, yeah you follow me but you only have to play one half.  The Darrelle Revis’, the Richard Sherman’s the Patrick Peterson’s, they follow people all over the field and take away half of the field.

Jones paused for a second and then qualified his statement.

“No shots at him, he’s a good player.”

That didn’t sound like a shot at all, Julio.

Houston Texans Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins weighed in on Twitter a few months ago.

Norman has some, but not all respect from his peers, but the real question is how much “respect” will Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman show him?

$16 million is a lot of respect, but if the two don’t get a new deal done and Norman holds out, it could affect team chemistry for what appeared to be a very tight-knit unit in 2015 as they finished with a franchise best 15-1 regular season record on their way to the NFC title.

 


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.