Since the first of the year, the Bills brain trust has talked about bringing in QB competition for EJ Manuel. This week, they've brought in veteran Josh McCown as part of that effort.
McCown, released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Wednesday, spent the last few days in Buffalo meeting with Bills coaches and GM Doug Whaley. He is a 12-year NFL veteran who will turn 36 years old on the Fourth of July this year.
Just last week, Bills head coach Rex Ryan reiterated the team's commitment to finding a quarterback solution in the weeks and months ahead and providing competition for Manuel at the position.
"We got the draft coming up, free agency is coming up," Ryan told WGR Radio in Buffalo. "Are there trade possibilities? You look at every possible scenario there is. From Doug Whaley and our scouts, all of our position coaches, we're looking at that."
McCown is a native of Jacksonville, Texas who stayed in his home state to play college football. He spent three years at SMU before transferring to Division 1-AA Sam Houston State for his final year of eligibility. He threw for 3,481 yards, 32 TDs and 12 INTs in one season at Sam Houston.
After a strong performance at the NFL Combine, McCown was Arizona's third round pick in the draft. He spent four seasons and got 22 starts with the Cardinals. In 2006, he moved on to Detroit, where he played in two games. McCown got on the field as a slot wide receiver on some plays with the Lions.
McCown moved on to the Oakland Raiders in 2007 where he got 9 starts at QB, throwing 10 TDs and 11 INTs. The following year, he played in two games with Carolina. He was out of the NFL in 2009 and 2010. He did play QB for Hartford of the United Football League in 2010, before returning to an NFL training camp with San Francisco in 2011.
Current Bills Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman was the 49ers OC that year, but McCown was released by the Niners at the end of training camp. He moved onto the Bears later that year, and spent three years in Chicago.
McCown had his best season in 2013, when he made five starts for the Bears. Under the guidance of Head Coach Marc Trestman and Bears Offensive Coordinator Aaron Kromer (now the Bills offensive line coach), McCown made five starts for Chicago in 2013. He got hot in the middle of the season and finished the year with 13 TD passes and 1 INT.
His 2013 performance earned McCown a lucrative free agent deal with Tampa Bay in 2014. McCown won the starting QB job at the start of the year but was knocked out of the lineup with a thumb injury after two weeks. He returned as the Bucs starter in week 10. Last year, McCown finished the season with 11 TD passes and 14 INTs, completing 56-percent of his throws.