Tracing Josh McCown’s Journey To Becoming a Free Agent and How He Spends His Money

Josh McCown is a former NFL star who until June 2019, plied his trade as a free agent in the league. He was not a franchise athlete. Instead, he was free anytime to sign a new contract and typically signed contracts on a year-to-year basis. According to a Fox Sports archive, Josh first declared as a free agent on March 11, 2006, while he was nearing the end of his last contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Since then, the QB expectedly moved in quick succession from one team to another until he played for 11 more NFL teams other than the Cardinals that drafted him in 2002.

Josh McCown Comes from a Family of NFL Stars

Joshua Treadwell McCown is an Independence baby as he was born on July 4th, 1979. Josh is the son of Pat and Robin McCown. A brother to two skilled and former NFL quarterbacks – Luke McCown and Randy McCown – we can safely conclude that not only does the footballing career run in the present generation of his family but it seems they are a unique family of football quarterbacks.

Josh McCown and his brother Luke
Josh McCown and his brother Luke: Image source

With the ever proximate inspiration from his two big brothers, Josh McCown grew up in Jacksonville, Texas. He eventually became a student of Jacksonville High School where he began to display his football talent.

In addition to the inspiration he drew from his older brothers, one physical feature of Josh that earned him a quick place in the game of football was his amazing height. After experiencing a significant growth spurt especially in his high school days, he was standing at the height of 5 feet 4 inches by his sixteenth birthday.

With his unique family background and his height advantage, Josh McCown consistently made his high school football team and excelled to the point of garnering both the East Texas’ Player of the Year and the District 17-4A Offensive Player of the Year awards in his senior year (1997) while also earning an All-State honorable mention. He also got recognition, playing on his high school basketball team.

He Played for Two College Teams

As a free agent, Josh McCown is essentially an NFL athlete who is not tied down in one place for too long. Well, it did not begin today because facts from his college days indicate that Josh has always tended to move on and on: he is one of the rare cases of football athletes whose college careers spanned two teams.

His collegiate career kicked off in 1998, after gaining admission at the Southern Methodist University. As a History major at SMU, Josh joined the University’s team, the SMU Mustangs. With the team, he played for three seasons and recorded great points some of which were SMU’s highest in history. A good example was in 1999 when he completed 19 passes in a row against Tulsa. It was the highest consecutive completions in the history of the Mustangs.

After spending three seasons with the Mustangs, McCown transferred to Sam Houston State University in his senior season where he joined the school’s football team, the Sam Houston State Bearkats. With his new team, Josh had an amazing season. He recorded 12 interceptions and completed 259 of 429 passes for 3,481 yards and 32 touchdowns. In addition to gaining a massive spot in the hearts of the fans of Bearkats, he earned other awards like the SFL Player of the Year, a First Team All-SFL honors in 2001, and was even ranked a Third Team Division I-AA All-American by The Sports Network.

The Story Behind Josh Becoming an NFL Free Agent

Josh McCown joined the NFL in 2002 after he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the year’s NFL draft. He played with the Cardinals between 2002 and 2005. It was only with the team that he was a franchise player because, as earlier mentioned, he declared his free-agent status at the end of his stay with his NFL debut team.

Right from the NFL Combine that preceded the 2002 Draft, Josh was like a goldfish. Among his many exquisite records at the Combine, analysts tend to particularly remember that, with a 10-foot long jump and 38.5-inch vertical jump, he posted a 40-yard dash in the mid-4 second range.

Thus, Josh McCown became the talk of the draft, with many commentaries centering on him. One of them predicted that he was going to be the 3rd quarterback to be picked. Also, the foremost football website rated him the 6th quarterback at the event. He was eventually the 4th quarterback to be drafted and the 81st overall pick.

Right after that, the budding star signed a two-year contract with the Cardinals and made his NFL debut later in the year. He started as a back-up to Jake Plummer and then to Jeff Blake in 13 games. In December 2003, exactly one year after his NFL debut, McCown became the starter quarterback for the Cardinals after he outperformed Blake in a game against San Francisco 49ers where Blake was played in the first half and McCown in the second.

In March 2005, Josh McCown signed a one-year contract extension that carried through the end of the season. Throughout his stay with the Cardinals, he played 33 games, starting 22 and completing 498 of 862 passes for 5,431 yards with 25 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. Also, Josh rushed for 94 times for 429 yards, scoring 3 touchdowns.

The athlete felt he could not be getting tied down to teams as he had been with the Cardinals for the past three seasons. He recalled how his performance with the Bearkats in a single season was way better than his entire record with the Mustangs for three seasons. Thus, deciding that he performs at his optimum by not staying for too long in a place, Josh opted for having the rest of his career as a free agent.

He also felt he was too versatile to be holed into one playing position all his life which led him to start training as a wide receiver. He was doing so to enhance his value when he would eventually become a free agent. Finally, in March 2006, exactly one year after he signed his contract extension paper with the Cardinals, the athlete declared himself a free agent.

Teams He Played for as a Free Agent

At the time of writing this, Josh McCown had just retired from his career after a season with the Philadelphia Eagles. In all, it was the 11th team he played for as a free agent. After he became a free agent, the first team Josh played for was the Detroit Lions. That was as soon as he made his announcement in March 2006. He was the Lions’ backup for all 16 games in 2006 while he continued to train as a wide receiver which he later became perfect in. At the end of the season, Josh asked to be traded, being tired of remaining a backup for too many games.

On April 28, 2007, he joined the Oakland Raiders as a quarterback. He played in 9 Raiders games and was a starter in all of them. Throughout his stay with the team, Josh completed 111 out of 190 passes for 1,151 yards. He scored 10 touchdowns with 11 interceptions and rushed for 143 yards.

The following year, on February 29, 2008, Josh McCown was signed by the Miami Dolphins in a 6.25 million two-year contract. However, in August of that year, Carolina Panthers acquired Josh from the Dolphins after their quarterback Matt Moore suffered a leg injury. 

In August 2010, Josh McCown went to the United Football League (UFL) team Hartford Colonials. Shortly after the contract paper was signed, NFL’s Chicago Bears made an undisclosed but attractive offer to him but he refused it, saying he must be an example to the younger generations by keeping his word to the Colonials. One year later, he signed a one-year $810,000 contract with the San Francisco 49ers. But a month later, he was released by the team.

That was when the Chicago Bears had the opportunity to get the athlete after their earlier attempt failed. He signed a contract with the Bears in November 2011. He was with the Bears until the end of the 2013 season. Then, in March 2014, Josh McCown went over to Tampa Bay Buccanneers in a two-year $10 million contract with a stand-by $5 million available for his playoff appearances and playing time. He immediately became Buccanneers’ starting quarterback. However, his stay with the Buccaneers lasted for only one season before he was released due to perceived underperformance.

In February 2015, Josh moved over to the Cleveland Browns after signing a three-year deal valued at $14 million. At the Browns, he set a career-high record for passing yards when he posted 457, earning the AFC Offensive Player of the week in Week 5 of the season. March 2017 came and Josh McCown signed a $6 million one-year deal with the New York Jets after the Browns released him the previous month. He was the season’s starting QB for the Jets. In March 2018, he signed a contract paper worth $10 million for a year’s extension of his stay with the Jets.

Towards the end of the 2018 season, McCown announced that he would be retiring from the sport. He was then hired as a football analyst by ESPN. But all of a sudden, Josh was signing a new contract with the Philadelphia Eagles in August 2019. Later on, it was understood that he signed the contract to serve as a replacement for two Eagles’ QBs who were both down with injuries. During the period, he doubled as a player and a mentor with the Eagles.

Josh McCown has had a very interesting career, playing for different professional teams in sixteen seasons. While he was finally retiring in June 2019, his career stats showed he had a completion percentage of 60.2 with a total passing yard of 17,731, 98 touchdowns, 82 interceptions, and a passer rating of 79.7. He now coaches high school football.

Josh McCown’s Net Worth and How He Spends It

With the level he attained in the NFL, Josh McCown must have reaped a windfall from his career. Until his last season in the league, he remained a big earner. According to Matevintage, his last salary with the Eagles was $1.5 million.

Some of his signings that we are aware of include his $6.25 million contracts with Miami Dolphins, $810,000 with San Francisco 49ers, and $10 million with the Tamper Bay Buccaneers. Others are $14 million with Cleveland Browns and $6 million with the New York Jets.

In all the sixteen seasons of his professional career, Josh McCown’s career earning is valued at $49.67 million. As of 2020, a net worth estimated at between $16 million and $18.8 million was reported for him. Our findings show that Josh has earned a great chunk, if not the whole amount, from his football career.

As for how he spends his money, we learned that he invests a lot in nurturing young athletes from his home town of Jacksonville, Texas, through a program known as McCown Passing Camp. It is a summer athletic camp organized annually since 2003 by Josh and his brothers.

Josh has also invested in the real estate sector. However, as far as we know, his real estate concerns are for residential purposes only. He owned a 5,576 square-foot 5-bedroom mansion in Waxhaw, near Charlotte, New Carolina. The property which was sold for $1.2 million in 2017 boasts an open-concept floor plan and has a salt-water pool, a large lawn, a tanning ledge, and a fire pit at the backyard. The interior design done by Holevas and Holton has dark wood flooring and sports a high ceiling.

Following the sale of his New Carolina home, Josh and his family moved into a new property in Waxahachie, Texas. Although there is no information available about the price and detail of this new property, stories have it that it is a posh mansion.

Chika Udeh
Chika Udeh
Chika holds a B.A in English language/History and has over 5 years experience in content development and journalism. She loves playing with writing, wordsmiths, and storytelling in all its forms, and when she is not writing about famous people and events that matter, she is probably listening or dancing to some cool jams.


Featured Today

Related Stories