Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Luke McCown spoke exclusively with PewterReport.com about the Buccaneers pursuing a trade for Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler. The 27-year-old signal caller was scheduled to become a free agent on February 27 before he signed a two-year contract worth $7.5 million. McCown, who could earn as much as $14 million with incentives, will have the opportunity to compete for the starting job.
McCown spoke about the proposed trade that would have sent Cutler to the Buccaneers.
"I have [heard about it], and the stance that I take on it is that if it didn't happen it doesn't matter," said McCown. "If it doesn't happen it doesn't really affect me at all. Obviously I would understand the circumstances concerning me if a trade like that were to happen, but I think I'm every bit as good as a [player like] Jay Cutler. That is just my opinion, and obviously you have to be confident in yourself. As of right now it doesn't effect me and hopefully it won't effect me."
McCown said that the team did speak with his agent about the potential trade, but felt that the conversation should remain private. McCown was not angry with the Bucs, and is excited to compete with any quarterback that the team acquires in free agency or the draft. Through sources within the organization PewterReport.com has learned that no quarterbacks are scheduled to visit the team at this time. McCown was asked if he was happy about the team not pursuing any of the free agent quarterbacks immediately in the first few days of free agency.
"I'll take that, but to me it doesn't really matter," McCown said. "They can bring someone in if they want, because I'm going to be doing everything I can to make sure that I win this job."
"In my mind it doesn't matter with whom. I'm going to do my best to win the job and be the starter," McCown said on February 9th. "Be that with Brian [Griese] or Josh [Johnson] or whoever else they bring in. I know my teammates, and they know me. We are going to try and put something together that we can do well with on the field."
The 6-foot-3, 212-pound McCown has completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 1,617 yards and tossed nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions during his five-year career. He has also rushed 21 times for 157 yards (7.5 avg.).
McCown impressed the Buccaneers organization in the five games he played in place of Jeff Garcia during the 2007 regular season. McCown completed 94-of-139 (67.6 percent) of his passes for 1,009 yards and threw five touchdowns and three interceptions.
His first start in place of Garcia came in New Orleans, where McCown completed his first 15 passes en route to leading Tampa Bay to a 27-23 win over New Orleans that helped win the NFC South division title for the Bucs during the '07 season. McCown threw a game-winning touchdown pass to tight end Jerramy Stevens with 0:14 left in the game.
McCown served as the backup to Garcia for the majority of the 2008 season, but saw limited playing time behind Garcia, who is a free agent and has not had any visits with other teams. Garcia was notified prior to free agency that the Buccaneers would not re-sign him.
Since free agency started, the Buccaneers have been active in getting passing targets for McCown to throw to. Last Friday the team traded for tight end Kellen Winslow II, who is one of McCown's best friends. They team also re-signed last years starting wide receivers Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton.
"I'm just as excited as I could be," said McCown. "A guy that can potentially be the one throwing all the balls to them. I'm going to do everything I can to be that guy. That's the kind of talent that you want around you. A guy like Antonio, like Kellen, like Mike, those are the kind of guys that make you look good."