The Cincinnati Bengals have yet to ink deals with any of their picks from the first four round, but they did get a deal done with a big named player. Quarterback AJ McCarron signed a contract Thursday with the team, generating as much attention as any first round selection. McCarron was taken in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and created a massive amount of buzz in Cincinnati, and around the league.
McCarron comes to the NFL after starting for three seasons at Alabama, two of which resulted in national championships. He was also a member, though not a starter, of a third national title team. During has college career, he amassed a 36-4 record, and efficiently threw for 77 touchdowns to just 15 interceptions. Lauded for being a “winner”, he suffered a free fall in the draft due to questionable arm talent and some possible perceptions that he was entitled, or had a bad attitude.
Incumbent quarterback Andy Dalton is in negotiations on a new contract this offseason, and McCarron figures to start out behind Jason Campbell at number three on the depth chart. However, he could quickly step into the backup role if he proves he can pick things up quickly. Should Dalton and the Bengals be unable to come to a new agreement, then McCarron immediately becomes a candidate for his starting job.
The Bengals also signed Lavelle Westbrooks, who was the final pick in the draft for them this year. He’ll try to make the team as depth at cornerback and safety.