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Bengals’ AJ McCarron Should Prepare For Free Agent Madness

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Aug 18, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) throws the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 18, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) throws the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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After witnessing the madness of this year’s free agency period, Bengals fans are being primed for more departures. Could AJ McCarron be next?

With the 2017 NFL season bearing down, thoughts are clearly about how well the Bengals will perform. But, after another wild ride on the free agency merry-go-round, things could get sticky for the future. After losing stout players and locker room leaders to the smell of big money, there’s a chance it all happens again in 2018. AJ McCarron is set to wander into the strange world of agents and cash, after this season.

Ask most Bengals fans who they would like to see guiding the Stripes to the playoffs and you’ll get mixed reviews. Maybe a little over half will stick with Andy Dalton. But, a growing number will say they’d feel better with McCarron under center. That being the case, McCarron could easily be wearing another uniform after the 2017 season.

What caused many of the diehard followers to jump ship and roll with McCarron? Maybe it started with the injury to Dalton. Actually, after The Rifle went down against the Steelers, McCarron actually had a decent showing. He posted a 66.4 completion percentage and an interception percentage of 1.7 percent. Additionally, he tossed six TDs and averaged 10.8 yards per completion (Y/C). Dalton was slightly higher at 12.7 Y/C. Without getting into an all-out numbers comparison, the lad did good. 

Now, it’s time to pay the piper. Even though McCarron has a limited number of snaps on film, there will be teams willing to toss indecent amounts of cash his way. If you think it isn’t possible, just recall the obscene amount of cash the Texans dumped on Brock Osweiler. Isn’t he with the Browns now? 

Will Mikey Make A Move?

When teams start shoveling cash at McCarron, Mike Brown will be faced with a certain dilemma. Show AJ the money or let him walk. But, there’s the problem. The Bengals are not going to pay their backup quarterback like a starter. Coincidentally ( and I don’t believe in them), McCarron is ready to start somewhere in the NFL. But, if the Bengals handle his free agent status like they have over the past two years, it’s a done deal.

Is McCarron ready for a new view? He certainly had that sound, when he spoke with The Cincinnati Enquirer.

"“Like I told Marvin and all my coaches in my exit meetings, I appreciate everybody in this organization. I really do. From the bottom of my heart. They gave me a chance when a lot of people wouldn’t. They all treated me unbelievably and I really do care for every one of ‘em and respect all ‘em. This place will always have a special place in my heart just for what they’ve done for me. I really appreciated it.”"

Maybe I’m reading too much into it. But, that sounds like a man ready for the chance to move on.

What makes the possibility of life without McCarron a reality? AJ will be a “restricted” free agent. That means Mike and the Bengals will have trade bait and (drum roll please) the almighty compensatory pick.

Next: But Is Corey Davis The Man?

Unless McCarron is willing to chill behind Dalton, get ready for more madness and head scratching during the 2018 offseason.

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