Dropped into an ultra-hideous class of free-agent passers, the 35-year-old veteran has a chance to see meaningful snaps next season -- and even start for a quarterback-needy team.
Let's not mistake McCown for a sexy offseason addition -- his Total QBR of 35.7 was third lowest in the NFL in 2014 -- but he would bring an ounce of stability to a few squads. With NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reporting that McCown already has heard from a handful of interested teams, let's examine the potential landing spots:
1. Baltimore Ravens
We base this solely on the connection between McCown and new Ravens play-caller Marc Trestman, who milked an outrageous 13:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio out of the journeyman two seasons ago in Chicago. McCown even said Thursday in an interview with NFL Media's Adam Schein on Sirius XM/Mad Dog Sports Radio that it's "natural" to connect him with Baltimore. Coach John Harbaugh said last offseason that he was "disappointed" with Tyrod Taylor's development as Joe Flacco's backup. With Taylor set to hit free agency, McCown would give Baltimore an experienced arm who -- as a salary-cap casualty -- wouldn't chip away at Ozzie Newsome's annual crop of compensatory picks. Still, this destination loses some juice if McCown is determined to start come September.
2. Buffalo Bills
Rex Ryan has forever lacked intuition when it comes to quarterbacks, but he knows enough to bring in competition for EJ Manuel. If a Mark Sanchez reunion isn't in the works, McCown would serve as a logical successor to Kyle Orton, who bailed out the Bills last season. If new offensive coordinator Greg Roman buys in, this might be McCown's best chance to start.
3. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are in freefall under center. If they don't re-sign Brian Hoyer, McCown makes sense as a Plan B option behind the fly-by-night Johnny Manziel. Some might argue that Hoyer is a better fit for this team right now than McCown, but neither player would serve as more than a bridge to whatever ungodly scenario unfolds next along Lake Erie.
4. Houston Texans
With Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Savage and Thad Lewis on the roster, we expect Houston to make a strong run at re-signing Ryan Mallett. If they fail to land him, McCown could compete for a starting job. The Texans would need to be convinced that he's an upgrade over Fitzpatrick, who was handed $4 million in guarantees as part of a two-year pact last offseason.
5. New York Jets
Todd Bowles wouldn't commit to Geno Smith as his starter last month, labeling the young passer -- two years removed from West Virginia -- as "a great college quarterback." The Jets might be zeroing in on another fine college signal-caller in Oregon's Marcus Mariota. New York's plans for their No. 6 overall pick will impact how they approach free agency, but McCown doesn't feel like the best fit for a Chan Gailey-led offense.
6. Chicago Bears
Why not? With the Bears deciding whether or not to keep Jay Cutler, McCown would serve as an immediate upgrade over David Fales, the only other passer under contract. Around The NFL's Chicago correspondent Kevin Patra noted that "half the city still thinks McCown is a better quarterback" than Cutler. The Trestman exodus doesn't help McCown's chances of a Windy City return, but the Bears could do worse.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We often slam together these "landing spots" lists only to see a player brought back by his former team for less cash. That doesn't feel likely in Tampa, but it wouldn't be crazy to see McCown return to the Bucs if (a) they wind up trading Mike Glennon and (b) need a reliable veteran to mentor the quarterback they take with the No. 1 overall pick. Our guess is that McCown will be long gone by then.