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  McCown Signing a Mistake
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by Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist

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Laughter is good for the soul. And boy, did I get a bellyful of it this morning.


Josh McCown?!


Here we go again, another inconsistent journeyman quarterback with a poor TD to interception ratio (i.e., a shaky decision-maker), and a passer rating that hasnít topped 75 in a six year career, getting a reported two year $6.25 million contract, a third of it guaranteed, from the Miami Dolphins.




Havenít we seen this story before? Donít we know how it will end? Is this the best that the great Bill Parcells can do to fix the QB problem that has plagued this team for eight seasons?


When will the Dolphins ever learn that the only way this team is going to solve their everlasting QB problem is through the draft? Yes, it is good to have a veteran insurance policy on the team. But canít it be someone who at least has a chance of being a winner?


Do you really think the Dolphins would win a lick with McCown at the helm?


Do you even want McCown teaching anything to John Beck?

Why not just re-sign Cleo Lemon who, by the way, had BETTER number than McCown and is improving? How does the McCown signing make the Dolphins better? What real purpose does it serve?


In the wake of this head-scratcher, the door has been opened for John Beck to become the starterÖunless McCown has already been promised the starting job, Trent Green style. (horrors!)


Now, whether or not Beck is the future is yet to be determined. But one thing is absolutely crystal clear: if Bill Parcells doesnít think Beck is the future, this is the draft to act.


Look, I am not a QB guru. Neither are you. But it seems logical that if the Dolphins can draft someone better than what they have, at a premium position that has been tough to fix, they must first consider taking this route. This is, by far, a more productive and meaningful move towards improving the team than wasting $6+ million on another bad QB.


Just remember, one signing is not exclusive of another, or a freebie. Signing McCown takes up a roster spot, takes up cap space, and takes snaps away from someone better or someone ascending.


Hereís a question: Why didnít the Dolphins use the money they wasted on McCown and chipped it into an offer for G Alan Faneca instead of letting this rare talent get away, to the NY Jets of all teams?


Maybe weíll get an answer to this one sometime this season.


Another confusing aspect of all this is that the Dolphins donít HAVE to sign guys like McCown anymore. Thatís because they are now in the best possible position to solve their QB problem the right way.


Iím talking about the NFL Draft, and a solid crop of passers.


The collective view is that BCís Matt Ryan is the #1 prospect, by far, of any QB in this draft. He is supposedly better than Beck or Brady Quinn. He carries an elite grade similar to one Eli Manning carried when he came out of Ole Miss.


You know Eli, the guy who just earned a ring?


(Oh, and if you still think Quinn is the bomb, why did the Browns pony up all that dough in a three year contract to keep Derek Anderson?)


Of course, drafting Ryan is not a slam dunk. Cap-wise, we all know that one of the riskiest moves in the player acquisition business is drafting a QB first overall because the failure rate is so high. If the Dolphins (and everyone else) are wrong about Ryan, the hit to the team would be enormous. It would be even worse than the hit they took on Ricky Williams because Ricky didnít carry the huge cap implications that Ryan surely would.


Yet the Giants understood the risk they were taking when they signed Eli. They also understood that, without a top flight QB, they had no shot at a world championship.


Today, would anyone question that they wouldnít have won Super Bowl XLII had they not made that move?


Again, I am not saying that Ryan is THE answer. Please understand that. I am saying that the answer, or even part of the answer, is NOT a free agent journeyman. Thatís NOT what a rebuilding franchise needs.


For now, the first and correct order of business is to vet out Ryan to see if he could be better than Beck.


Production-wise, itís a murky picture. Beckís overall numbers at BYU were actually better than Ryanís. However, the competition Ryan faced was superior to that faced by Beck. Then again, in the one game that Beckís BYU Cougars played against Ryanís BC Eagles, at BC in 2006, it was Beckís team that came out on top with both QBs ringing up over 350 passing yards each.


Confusing, isnít it?


Of course thereís a lot more to judging a good QB than just numbers, like arm strength and intelligence, which is where the experts come in. Itís why Ryan carries a grade worthy of a top 5 pick. If the Dolphins donít feel that Ryan has a reasonable chance of turning out better than Beck, of being the guy to lead this team to a Super Bowl, they should focus on the next tier of guys in the draft. Thatís how to properly fix the problem, not by signing mediocre free agents.


Yes, I know; it is too early to be drawing final overall conclusions. Iím not.


Thus far, the Dolphins have made some good decisions in free agency. Unfortunately, the McCown signing was not one of them.


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