Stamford, CT: The QB firedrill is about to kick into high gear, with free agency set to begin on Wednesday. When Kirk Cousins flaps his butterfly wings and chooses his landing spot, the repercussions will flutter across the league. The losers will be scrambling to decide whether to make a push for Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, A.J. McCarron or try to get to in a position to draft their savior. The New York Jets are pushing hard for Cousins, but if they don’t get him they’ll be forced to Plan B. And if Plan B is a rookie and they need a bridge guy, they may start the season with 38-year old Josh McCown under center again.
McCown will be playing in his 15th season in the NFL and in every single one he’s had a different offensive coordinator. Every damn one. That doesn’t even seem possible, you have to have been on some crappy teams. McCown overachieved in a big way in 2017, on a team without anything resembling an established receiver on the roster.
The journeyman breathed life into a stagnant career in 2013, throwing for 13 TDs to only 1 interception with a 109 QB rating in eight games filling in for Jay Cutler. Many a Bears fan were yelling for Smokin’ Jay to stay down and let McCown finish the year. But McCown has had enough bursts of competence to make me wonder, what would McCown’s career have looked like in a stable situation?
Tom Brady, other the other hand, has basically played under one system under one head coach for his entire career. He’s been guided by coaches who know how to put QBs in position to succeed. Hell, the Pats got an 11-5 season out of Matt Cassell, who has never looked functional anywhere else.
Brady was chosen in the 6th round of the 2000 draft with the second of the four compensatory picks the Pats were awarded for losing Todd Collins, Tom Tupa, Mark Wheeler, and Dave Wohlabaugh. So basically, the Pats got Brady for losing their punter in free agency. (Incidentally, the Browns took QB Spergon Wynn earlier in the 6th round of that draft, probably because he ran a faster 40 yard dash. 78 QBs later, they’re still looking.)
Sure talent is king. Look what Desean Watson did in Houston or what Jimmy Garappolo did in San Francisco. But there are enough guys like Jim Plunkett, Steve Young, and Rich Gannon out there to show that the situation can make or break the QB.
What if Brady decided to play baseball or stay at Merrill Lynch after his internship? What if the Pats passed on him and waited until 2002 and drafted McCown as the heir to Drew Bledsoe? That’s right, I’m talking about Freaky Friday-ing their careers.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you McCown would be a 5 time champion and the GOAT, but he might have had a damn good career. I’ve built a simulator using Excel, a sundial, Madden Football 2000 in dynasty mode, a Magic 8 Ball, and my dog Chief to see how McCown’s career would have played out on the Pats. Come back next week for the results.
Other athletes I’d like to see in a Freaky Friday Situation:
Bill Belichick into Johnny Manziel – “You want me to do another line off that hooker’s ass? Shouldn’t we be watching game film?”
Herm Edwards into Allen Iverson – “Why would I complain about practice? The way you practice dictates how you play in the game. You can’t make the PLAYOFFS if you don’t practice.”
Lebron James into Brian Scalabrine – “I don’t know if I’m more pissed about how hard it is to dunk or this ginger hair on my basketballs.”
A-Rod into Kerry Strug – “What do you mean you want me to vault? I hurt my ankle, didn’t you see?!”
Matt Harvey into Cal Ripken – “I don’t care about any streak, my tummy hurts. I need a day off.”
Trump into Kim Jong Un – “I don’t really feel any different. But my hands are huge!”
Who do you want to see Freaky Friday-ed? Come back tomorrow for Angry Ward, who’s freaky everyday. You can follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.