TAMPA, Fla. — With new coach Lovie Smith signing his man, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers expect to have a new starting quarterback in 2014.
A 12-year veteran, Josh McCown was crowned the Buccaneers’ starter entering next season after signing a two-year, $10 million deal. FOX Sports NFL Insider Alex Marvez reports McCown will earn $4.75 million in 2014 and $5.25 million in 2015.
"Every position there is competition," said Smith, who coached McCown in Chicago during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. "We have starting rotations at every position. That is what we have. Gerald McCoy is at the top of the depth chart with our starting rotation. And then you have to have certain level of play for guys to stay that way. That is the way it has always been for me. But you have to have a starting spot, or point, a starting person to go out there first and that will be Josh."
The 34-year-old spent the past two seasons with the Bears — Smith’s former team –- and he threw for 1,829 yards with 13 touchdowns and one interception in eight games last year in Jay Cutler’s absence. His career has also included stops with the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers.
Clearly, McCown was a top target for the Bucs, and it’s little surprise that the Bucs’ top quarterback spot will be his to lose. McCown had scheduled free-agency visits with the Houston Texans and New York Jets this week, but arrived in Tampa on Tuesday night and continued to meet with team officials Wednesday.
In their time together, McCown impressed Licht, who spoke glowingly of McCown’s attentive demeanor in his meetings with the Bucs.
"When we brought him in this morning, he interviewed us," Licht said. "It wasn’t us interviewing Josh. He interviewed us. It was, ‘When are your meetings? When will you go over this? What is your terminology? When are you going to make this fit?’ He interviewed us."
McCown’s signing means Glennon will face a new stage in his career. Glennon, named the Bucs’ starter by former coach Greg Schiano after Josh Freeman was benched, threw for 2,608 yards with 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 games last season.
Still, the Smith feels secure with McCown. The coach added that McCown’s signing would not prevent the Bucs from looking at further quarterback options in the draft.
"We wouldn’t bring a player in if we thought he was ready to retire," Smith said. "That’s not the case at all. Josh McCown — you’ll get a chance to see that he has a lot of spring in his legs. He’s going to play a lot of good football."
It was just another day with the Bucs’ free-agency spending spree. On Tuesday, they agreed to terms with defensive end Michael Johnson, cornerback Alterraun Verner, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and tight end Brandon Myers.
Licht vowed that Tampa Bay wasn’t done signing, either.