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Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Saints re-sign backup QB McCown

By Mike Triplett

The New Orleans Saints agreed to terms Wednesday on a one-year deal with veteran backup quarterback Luke McCown. Terms were not disclosed.

McCown
The deal makes perfect sense, considering the Saints were happy with McCown in that role last year. However, he'll have to beat out second-year pro Ryan Griffin if he wants to hold onto the job in training camp.

The Saints are high on Griffin's potential after signing him as an undrafted rookie last year from Tulane. Griffin played in college under former Saints receivers coach Curtis Johnson. And Griffin's former college position coach, Mike Neu, is now the Saints' new quarterbacks coach.

Head coach Sean Payton broke down New Orleans' quarterback outlook earlier Wednesday morning at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Fla., when he was asked when the Saints will consider seeking a future replacement for Drew Brees.

"No. 1, we're always in the business of developing young players. They come in all rounds, too," Payton said. "You know, Ryan Griffin from Tulane was a free agent last year, really impressed a lot of us. Luke McCown has a clear role and is someone that we'd like to sign back.

"So I don't know that you go into a draft and say, 'Alright, put on your gloves guys, this is it.' But you are paying attention to that market, that specific position market, each year. Because it's a little bit like that high-end delicatessen item that doesn't come in every day. So you're always waiting to make sure that something's not on the shelf. ..."

Payton continued: "And we're fortunate to have a player like Drew [in the meantime]. You either have one or you're always looking for one. And then I think it's important that that constant development or vision of developing one exists."

My personal opinion -- it's still too early for the Saints to invest a high draft pick on a young quarterback. Brees should have at least three good years left in him, if not more. So a draft pick this year would practically be due for free agency by the time the Saints are ready to make a switch.

McCown, 32, won the Saints' backup job last summer over fellow veteran Seneca Wallace. But he only attempted one pass all season (an ill-fated fake field goal attempt). McCown was also in Saints camp in 2012, but he lost the job to former backup Chase Daniel and wound up with the Atlanta Falcons that year.

The journeyman has made nine career starts during a 10-year career spent with Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Atlanta and New Orleans. He has a total of 2,035 passing yards, nine touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.

There's always hope for a late renaissance, though. And he need look no further than his own brother for inspiration. Luke's older brother Josh had a breakout year with the Chicago Bears last season at age 34, and now he has signed on to become the projected starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.