Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown (12) throws a pass against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara
February 11, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have terminated the contract of quarterback Josh McCown, a move Wednesday that clears salary cap space for free agency.

The 35-year-old McCown went 1-10 as a starter and had the second-lowest passer rating in the NFL after signing a two-year, $10 million contract with the Bucs last winter.

Tampa Bay has the No. 1 pick in the draft and is weighing the prospect of making Florida State's Jameis Winston or Oregon's Marcus Mariotta the team's quarterback of the future.

McCown completed 56 percent of his passes for 2,206 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season. Jacksonville's Blake Bortles was the only quarterback with a passer rating lower than McCown's 70.5.

A career backup, McCown was coming off the best season of his career with Chicago when he signed with Tampa Bay last March, a deal that reunited him with former Bears coach Lovie Smith, who was counting on the 12-year veteran to provide the Bucs with steady play and leadership.

McCown started five games in place of the injured Jay Cutler for the Bears in 2013, going 3-2 and finishing the season with 13 touchdown passes and one interception.

He struggled from the beginning with the Bucs, starting the first three games of the season - all losses - before injuring the thumb on his throwing hand and missing the next five weeks.

The Bucs weren't much more productive with backup Mike Glennon running the offense. They lost four of five games with the second-year quarterback filling in, and Smith turned back to McCown as the losses continued to mount.

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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