AJ McCarron Signs 2-Year Contract with Bills After 4 Seasons with Bengals
The Bills announced their agreement with McCarron on Twitter.
Cincinnati selected McCarron in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, but he’s had limited playing time with Andy Dalton entrenched as the team’s starter.
The 27-year-old University of Alabama product, who won three national championships (two as a starter) during his time with the Crimson Tide, has appeared in just 11 regular-season games in four years at the pro level. In addition, only three of those outings were starts, all in 2015.
McCarron performed admirably in those rare opportunities to see the field. He completed 64.7 percent of his throws (86-of-133) with six touchdowns and two interceptions. His career 6.92 yards per attempt would have ranked 19th in the NFL during the 2017 season between Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr.
The Mobile, Alabama, native also started the team’s 2015 playoff game against the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers as Dalton recovered from a fractured thumb. He tallied one touchdown and one interception with a lackluster 68.3 passer rating in an 18-16 loss.
Dalton returned to full strength and reclaimed his job for the past two seasons, however, which pushed McCarron back into a reserve role.
He successfully filed a grievance with the NFL to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason rather than a restricted FA based on years accrued. He argued his rookie campaign should count despite spending most of the year on the reserve/non-football injury list.
McCarron said in January he was seeking a chance to start somewhere regardless of the case’s outcome.
"Anytime you come into a place where a guy is established like A.D., who’s led them to the playoffs however many times and they are paying him that much, it’s not going to happen," he told reporters. "It’s just the way it goes. Like I said, I just want a chance to compete, so I’m just waiting on that opportunity."
How long McCarron remains Buffalo’s starter is up in the air, though. The Bills could select a QB in the first round of the 2018 draft, so the front office may only view the former Bengals backup as a short-term stopgap option.
His chance to start, whether it comes next season or further down the line, will happen eventually. The demand for quarterbacks far outweighs the supply around the NFL. But he needs to be ready to seize the opportunity when it does arrive because he might not get a second shot.
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March 14, 2018 at 04:50PM