McCown, 38, will earn $125,000 for starting Sunday's game in Buffalo, and $125,000 for every other game he starts, on top of his $6 million fully guaranteed base salary. It is thought to be one of the largest per-game play-time bonuses in the NFL, if not the largest.
The money could work against McCown later in the season, though. Should the Jets start struggling and fall out of the playoff race -- as most expect they will -- then the Jets would have incentive to bench McCown for one of their other, younger quarterbacks, saving $125,000 against the salary cap.
Jets coach Todd Bowles said McCown "gives us the best chance to win right now" when naming the 14-year veteran as New York's Week 1 starter.
Hackenberg was the backup to McCown Sunday, with Petty inactive.