Browns agree to terms with free-agent QB Josh McCown
BEREA, Ohio — It appears the Brian Hoyer era is over in Cleveland.
The Browns have confirmed that quarterback Josh McCown has agreed to terms with the team. Reports over the past two days surfaced that McCown was in contract negotiations with the Buffalo Bills and the Browns.
FOX Sports 1 NFL insider Mike Garafolo tweeted Saturday, confirming McCown’s deal with Cleveland is worth $14 million over 3 years, with $6.25m guaranteed and a max value of $20 million.
"Josh is your consummate professional," GM Ray Farmer said in the release provided by the team. "He’s known to be a great guy in the locker room and will be great for the quarterback room. He knows how to get an entire offense on the same page and get a team to rally behind him. He has been exposed to a lot of different types of offenses and we think still has the drive and skill set to be a successful quarterback in this league.
"We are excited to get him and believe he will help continue to move us in the right direction and help us build the type of team that will bring winning football to Cleveland."
McCown, 35, was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Feb. 11 after going 1-10 as the starter for them last year. He missed five games with a thumb injury.
"I just want to serve our team and help everybody in that locker room, do my best to help everybody in the locker room be better at their job and they’re going to help me, too. It’s a two-way street," McCown said. "I’m just excited about coming in and being a part of a team."
McCown will be re-united with Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who was his quarterback coach with the Raiders in 2007.
"Josh is a high-character, savvy, veteran quarterback that has a lot to offer to our team," Mike Pettine said. "When you hear from people that have been around Josh, they speak of the leadership qualities and the positive impact he has on a locker room. I really enjoyed spending time with him during his visit. He has great passion for playing the quarterback position and wants to show that he can still be successful in this league.
"Obviously, he is a quarterback that has been in a number of systems and he has worked with (DeFilippo) so there is some good familiarity between the two. We are excited to have him become part of our team and we look forward to him playing an important role in our offense."
McCown had his best year in 2013 when he filled in for the injured Jay Cutler with the Bears and threw 13 touchdowns and just one interception, posting a 109.9 rating in starting five games.
In his career, McCown is 17-32 as a starter after being a third-round draft pick of the Cardinals in 2002. He has thrown 61 touchdowns and 59 interceptions with a 76.1 rating. McCown’s younger brother, Luke, was drafted by the Browns in 2004.
Hoyer had indicated he wanted to be a starter and McCown was quoted while in Tampa Bay that he was willing to be a backup. He also alluded to that role with the Browns.
It appears the Browns intend to have McCown compete for the starting quarterback job, while also serving as a mentor to Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw or possibly a quarterback the Browns draft in this year’s NFL Draft.
"Year one was a solid first year for coach Pettine, and to see the vision with what he’s got going on is exciting to me," McCown said. "In my room, I want to be able to help those young guys and pass along my knowledge and experiences I’ve had and help them grow."
Hoyer is set to become a free agent on March 10. He was 7-6 as the Browns starter last season and 10-6 over the past two seasons.