If he wasn't going to be part of the solution, then keeping him was going to be a part of the problem.
So cut bait. Or, in this case, cut Josh.
The Bucs on Wednesday cut ties — wisely, I might add — with Josh McCown, coach Lovie Smith's handpicked quarterback to lead the team out of the abyss and into the playoffs.
Nice call. For nearly 5 million bucks, the Bucs got one victory.
Not that McCown's 1-10 record as a starter with Tampa Bay was all his fault. You saw the Bucs last season. That chain had a lot of broken links. But in what took some real effort, McCown became the worst Josh in the history of Bucs quarterbacks. Actually, he made a run at being the worst Bucs QB named anything.
Should we really be surprised that a 35-year-old journeyman who could never keep a starting job in the league turned out to be a complete disaster? And should we be equally surprised that Smith couldn't pick a QB, something he never has been able to do?
It was a plan doomed from the start, and Lovie and the Bucs deserve plenty of finger-wagging and I-told-you-sos for this incredibly stupid, short-sighted signing. Other than being a heck of a nice guy off the field, McCown was nothing he was advertised to be: reliable, poised, protective of the football.
McCown was plenty bad, but Smith's decision to sign him was infinitely worse. Smith messed up and messed up badly, and it cost the Bucs a whole bunch of games.
But at least Smith and the Bucs are trying to do the right thing now. Give them credit for realizing that throwing McCown back out there next season would have thrown kerosene on a Dumpster fire. And it would have proven that their hubris was higher than their football IQ.
At least they came to their senses and realized that if this team and this offense were going to go anywhere next season, it wasn't going to be with McCown under center. And hey, they are saving $5.2 million to boot. Keeping McCown around at that kind of dough to be nothing more than a mentor just wasn't worth it.
So now what?
Well, it would seem the Bucs are in need of a quarterback, unless you think they should go back to Mike Glennon, in which case you need to review Glennon's 5-13 record as the Bucs' starter and then question your football IQ. Glennon is a backup and maybe a very serviceable one. If you're going to have a mediocre QB on the roster, you might as well have a young guy like Glennon rather than an old one like McCown.
But either way, the Bucs still need a long-term starter.
And wouldn't you know it, there happens to be two highly regarded prospects sitting in a tree just waiting to be plucked by some lucky NFL team with the first pick in this year's draft.
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Best of all, neither is named Josh.
Now it's up to the Bucs to get one of them. It would seem that the release of McCown is the first step in that process.
Forget this talk about trading the pick for more picks. Yes, the Bucs have many holes. But their biggest hole is at quarterback, and this franchise — like any in football — is never going to be any good until it gets itself a franchise quarterback.
Those guys rarely are found floating around the free agent market. Those guys are rarely found hanging around in the third or fourth or fifth round of the draft, and don't come to me with the two Super Bowl quarterbacks: third-round pick Russell Wilson and sixth-round pick Tom Brady. Finding gems that late in the draft is incredibly rare and involves luck, and if the Seahawks and Patriots had any clue that those QBs were going to be are good as they are, they wouldn't have waited that long to take them.
The best odds of finding a big-time NFL quarterback are to draft him in the first round.
This is the perfect storm for the Bucs.
They have the first overall pick. They need a quarterback. The top two prospects are quarterbacks.
The Bucs still have nearly three months to figure out which quarterback is the best fit.
Is it Oregon's Marcus Mariota, who has no off-field issues but plenty of on-field questions? Or is it FSU's Jameis Winston, who seems ready for the NFL but not quite ready for adulthood.
The Bucs will interview and investigate, study and scrutinize, debate and debate some more. Then they must decide who is more fixable, Mariota on the field or Winston off it.
Then, ignoring all trade offers, they must step up and take one of them.
My pick would be Winston because he seems ready now, but if the Bucs think the future is Mariota, so be it.
We know one thing: The quarterback on opening day next season won't be Josh McCown.
That mistake was fixed Wednesday.