Browns coach Mike Pettine announced Tuesday that McCown is out for the season with a broken collarbone. He suffered the injury in Monday night's heartbreaking loss to the Ravens, trying to play through the broken collarbone until he clearly couldn't continue. On Monday morning, McCown was officially placed on injured reserve.
"It is very unfortunate," Pettine said. "Josh means a lot to this team, whether it was in the locker room, practice field or game day. Just the positive energy that he exuded, the leadership ... I just cannot say enough positive things about Josh McCown and what he has done for this football team and what he means to this football team."
McCown started eight games for the Browns this season after arriving in town as a free agent, although he often felt like a supporting actor in the Johnny Manziel Story. Manziel was announced as the starter for the rest of the season only two weeks ago, but was subsequently benched after enjoying the nightlife too much during the team's bye week.
Pettine said Tuesday that he was not prepared to announce the team's Week 13 starter yet. Austin Davis, who replaced McCown on Monday night, and Manziel are the two options. He also said there's a chance the team could sign another quarterback.
"We are going to discuss it more and determine our best course of action moving forward," Pettine said. "We are going to take everything into consideration and then make a decision for this week that is best for the team."
McCown's capable performance against Baltimore was typical of his season. He's never been a traditional quarterback known for dropping back and throwing the ball at the end of his drop. He's going to improvise, provide some wow plays, show a lot of toughness and take way too many big hits. McCown would be low on the list of problems this season for the 2-9 Browns. The team's total lack of a running game or defense, not to mention a thin wide receiver group, were bigger issues. We wouldn't even call McCown an average NFL starter, but he did as well as could be expected considering the circumstances.
With all that said, there is no guarantee McCown will be back on the team next season. The Browns were his seventh team and the 36-year-old is due $4.5 million next season. That's a fine figure for a backup quarterback if the Browns want to keep McCown. First they have to decide what they want to do with Manziel.