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Report: Browns "Reluctant" To Trade Josh McCown To Cowboys

Can the Cowboys swing a deal for McCown, and are the Browns just trying to drive up the price?

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plains Dealer reports that Josh McCown is a top target of the Cowboys to replace backup quarterback Kellen Moore, echoing multiple reports to the same effect.

Ed Werder of ESPN reports that the Browns are "reluctant" to trade him, though that reluctance is probably little more than an effort to dive up the price for McCown.

The Browns haven’t officially announced their starter for 2016 yet, but it's widely expected to be Robert Griffin, while Josh McCown's future in Cleveland looks uncertain, per CBS Cleveland.

As for McCown’s future, Jackson made no promises that he’ll even make the team despite his professionalism and leadership within the QB room. In fact, Jackson’s response when asked was downright ominous.

"In my honest opinion, that has nothing to do with him remaining on the team," Jackson said. "That’ll be an organizational decision about all of our quarterbacks."

The Cowboys have had a long and tumultuous history with backup QBs. The last successful backup QB they had was Jon Kitna, who joined the team as a 38-year-old in 2010. They then had Kyle Orton join them from 2012-2013, but Orton only started one game, and that relationship eventually ended acrimoniously. In a marked departure from their veteran backup QB approach, they then signed Brandon Weeden as their backup, impressed perhaps in part by his draft pedigree as a former first-round pick. That didn't work out and they brought in Matt Cassel, which didn't work out, either.

McCown, at 37 years, fits the mold of the veteran QB the Cowboys have looked for in the past and have just recently gotten away from. McCown is coming off a strong year on a terrible Cleveland team, as Mary Kay Cabot explains.

A Texas native and graduate of Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Tex., McCown would give the Cowboys the veteran presence they're seeking behind Romo. He could not only step in and start, but give the Cowboys a chance to win.

Last season, he finished 14th in the NFL with a 93.3 rating before a season-ending broken collarbone that landed him on injured reserve for the final five games. He finished 1-7 in his eight starts on a horrible Browns team, but threw for 2,109 yards and 12 touchdowns against only 4 interceptions.

A 14th-year pro, McCown became the only quarterback in Browns history to throw for three straight 300-yard games. He also set a club record with 457 yards in an overtime victory over the Ravens, the fourth-most by an NFL quarterback in 2015.

Here's a quick summary of McCown's stats over the last three years.

Josh McCown stats, 2013-2015
Year Age Tm GS Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Y/A Rate
2013 34 CHI 5 149 224 66.5 1,829 13 1 8.2 109.0
2014 35 TAM 11 184 327 56.3 2,206 11 14 6.7 70.5
2015 36 CLE 8 186 292 63.7 2,109 12 4 7.2 93.3
Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com

Eli Manning had the best year of his career in 2015 with a passer rating of 93.6. McCown matched that with a 93.3 rating on a "horrible Browns team" in 2015, and far exceeded that with a 109.0 passer rating on a halfway competent Bears team in 2013. And if he's a better passer than Eli, he should be good enough to be a backup for the Cowboys.

The question is, can the Cowboys swing a deal for McCown? Here's a suggested trade that I found interesting: