AJ McCarron was finally freed from the Bengals’ grasp, but the outpouring of interest from other teams that was previously predicted would happen never came to fruition.
In fact, when a number of quarterbacks were scooped up off the market on Tuesday, it was McCarron who stayed put. He watched Kirk Cousins land with the Vikings, Case Keenum end up in Denver, Teddy Bridgewater get shipped off to New York and the Cardinals sign both Sam Bradford and (eventually) Mike Glennon. Even the Browns elected to roll with Tyrod Taylor in favor of McCarron, and they nearly traded for him last year.
There was only one other team that was really in the hunt for a free-agent starting quarterback, and it wasn’t an attractive destination. Still, it was lucky for McCarron that the Bills came calling — signing him to a two-year deal worth at least $10 million (with another $6.5 million in incentives).
McCarron will finally be given plenty of chances to showcase his stuff — this season, at least — but it appears that he’s a stop-gap quarterback. The Bills, most likely, will draft a quarterback with the 12th overall pick, and they’ll roll with McCarron until that young signal-caller is ready to start.
It’s crazy to think about what would’ve happened to McCarron had the Bills not signed him, though, as it appears that other teams were not high on him. Maybe he would’ve remained in Cincinnati, but being Andy Dalton’s backup isn’t something he appears to want to do anymore, and understandably so.
McCarron will now get his chance to prove the doubters wrong, but it won’t be easy, playing for a team that has been without a franchise quarterback for roughly a quarter-century. The odds aren’t in his favor.