While the full, year-by-year details of QB Josh McCown's contract with the Cleveland Browns aren't known yet, we know enough about it to tell you this: his three-year deal is worth $14 million, and could go up to $20 million with incentives. Here are the details that have been unveiled, via Twitter:
- McCown will make $5.25 million (fully guaranteed) in 2015. From a contract standpoint, this is exactly what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have paid McCown in 2015 had they retained him for another season. They were able to cut him because the second year of his contract with them was not guaranteed.
- Over the final two years of his contract (2016-2017), McCown is set to make $8.75 million, an average of $4.375 million per year. Only $1 million over the final two years of his deal is fully guaranteed.
- The $6 million in incentives are supposedly as follows: he will get $2 million for each year that the Browns make the playoffs and he reaches certain playing time incentives. The "and" is important because if another quarterback leads the Browns to the playoffs while McCown is a backup, he won't earn those incentives.
The key component of the deal is the fact that only $1 million is guaranteed to McCown after this year. That means that if McCown is god awful, the Browns could cut him next offseason and only absorb $1 million in dead cap space in 2016. In that sense, in a worst-case scenario, McCown is a one-year rental.
While it seems likely that McCown will begin 2015 as the starting quarterback, if QB Johnny Manziel somehow gets his act together and has a tremendous offseason, there is no shame for a team with cap space sitting an overpaid quarterback for a year. They shouldn't let that contract dictate a starting role, just like the Seahawks didn't when it was Matt Flynn vs. Russell Wilson a few years back.
McCown has somehow been able to make out like a bandit as he gets older, despite not really lighting the league on fire or anything:
Since 2011 McCown has signed 7 contracts. 5 of them were for the minimum. Last two have been for over $5M a year, biggest of career— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) February 28, 2015