Former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron seems to be getting lost in the mix of free agent quarterbacks.
After filing a grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals and asking to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, former backup quarterback A.J. McCarron finds himself back in the headlines. It’s been since 2015 since we have seen McCarron hit the field in a regular season game when starting quarterback Andy Dalton left with a broken thumb.
A team that has really struggled the last couple of years partly due to bad quarterback play is the Denver Broncos. Between quarterbacks Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch the Broncos haven’t been able to develop any of those three into their future signal caller.
The Broncos are the latest to be brought up when talking about McCarron this offseason. They also have been in the headlines for going after quarterback Kirk Cousins and Case Keenum. Cousins has been talked about leaning toward either the Minnesota Vikings or the New York Jets. McCarron could be a cheaper option for a team like the Broncos that could use that money to spend around the rest of the roster.
McCarron could most certainly have success in Denver with wide receiver weapons like Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Although one of the key reasons other veteran quarterbacks might shy away from Denver is the offensive line struggles over the years. Like the Bengals, the Broncos have failed to figure out a way to fix their offensive line whether that be through the draft or free agency.
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Even though he has little starting experience he has shown enough for a team to take a chance on him. In his seven games in 2015, three starts, McCarron completed 79 of 199 passes (66.4% completion) for 854 yards and 6 touchdowns to his 2 interceptions. His unproven talent gives the Broncos the chance to sign a quarterback for about $14 million a year or less and draft their quarterback of the future at number 5 overall in the upcoming draft.
Recent reports show that the Broncos have decided to sign Case Keenum, however. When realizing they were not in the tight race for Cousins and already lost their backup plan for quarterback Tyrod Taylor, they decided to quickly jump on Keenum.
The Arizona Cardinals are another team looking for a quarterback as their starter Carson Palmer retired in January. While the Cardinals were prepping to make Cousins an offer as well, they have just signed Sam Bradford to a one year deal worth $20 million.
The Cleveland Browns are another team that has shown interest in McCarron after failing to grab him minutes before the trade deadline in 2017. Hue Jackson worked with McCarron in his time in Cincinnati but it looks like that interest is gone as well considering they traded for Tyrod Taylor.
With McCarron stating that he refuses to be a bridge quarterback and wanting a longterm deal, it could prove difficult for him to find a landing spot on the first day of free agency. It seems odd how many backup quarterbacks are getting a great deal of attention in this year’s free agency. Maybe every team is trying to find their own version of Jimmy Garoppolo who was traded last season to the San Fransico 49ers and had a great showing in his first games with the team.
There are few quarterback-needy teams that are looking for the free agency to fill a longterm deal and even fewer left after notable signings. The New York Jets could still be looking for someone and be willing to pay a longterm deal with the amount of CAP space they have in 2018. There are rumors that the team is turning their attention to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater if they can’t make a deal with Cousins though.
With limited options left and McCarron not receiving the attention he had hoped for, he may find himself having to take a backup role somewhere else and compete for the job in training camp. Free agency opens tomorrow and we will see which quarterbacks have already made up their mind and where other teams turn to for their backup plans.