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Josh McCown No Longer A Bear

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 12, 2014 9:30PM

If or when Jay Cutler misses time with an injury next season the Bears will not have Josh McCown to back him up. McCown signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday that reunites him with his former Bears coach Lovie Smith and includes performance escalators that could enrich the value of the deal if McCown meets them.

The two-year, $10 million deal includes $4.75 million in guaranteed money and performance incentives that could boost the value of the deal to $15 million. McCown can earn an extra $1 million in each year of the deal based on playing time and an extra $3 million if Tampa Bay reaches the playoffs.

Most important for McCown is the opportunity to fight for a starting job with the Bucs against second-year player Mike Glennon. He wouldn’t get that in Chicago where the Bears committed to Cutler as their starter with a new seven-year deal after the 2013 season. McCown earned $865,000 last season, started eight games while Cutler was injured and had meathead Bears fans calling for him to permanently replace Cutler after he threw 13 touchdowns to a single interception, playing within head coach Marc Trestman’s offensive system. But then Cutler’s personality is such that some Bears fans would prefer the corpse of Sid Luckman lined up under center over Cutler. The 34-year-old journeyman McCown had one of his worst seasons playing for the Bears under Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

The Bears will now look for a veteran backup to Cutler on the free agent market. The team signed Jordan Palmer to a one-year deal Sunday.