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Report: New York Jets interested in QB Josh McCown

The New York Jets continue to make contingency plans just in case the Geno Smith experiment explodes.

In addition to talking with Mark Sanchez's agent at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Jets are eyeing free-agent quarterback Josh McCown to provide a veteran alternative if Smith falters, the New York Daily News reported Saturday night.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears also have strong interest in signing McCown, according to a source informed of the player's options.

McCown is coming off a solid season, having started five games for the Bears in place of an injured Jay Cutler. The 34-year-old McCown threw 13 touchdown passes to only one interception and kept the Bears' playoff chances afloat with a 3-2 record.

Chasing a veteran like McCown makes sense for the Jets. The team doesn't seem sold on Smith as a franchise quarterback, but they have no viable backup option on the roster.

Sanchez is on his way out, veteran David Garrard is more mentor than player and Matt Simms isn't a practical alternative.

According to the Daily News, it is "unlikely" the Jets would chase Michael Vick, who worked with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg in Philadelphia. Matt Schaub, who is expected to be cut by the Houston Texans, isn't interested in becoming Smith's backup, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.

New York also makes some sense for McCown if he decides to leave Chicago and coach Marc Trestman to chase an opportunity to start.

At the combine this week, Rex Ryan talked up Smith's late-season performance as a positive step in the quarterback's maturation process. However, finding a veteran backup is a necessity for general manager John Idzik.

In reality, no quarterback will be able to succeed in the Jets' offense if the wide receiver group remains a tattered wreck.

*The latest "Around The League Podcast" taped live from the NFL Scouting Combine with all the latest free agency and draft news. *

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