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Report: A.J. McCarron to Become an Unrestricted Free Agent

The Free Agent QB Market Gains Another Arm.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, quarterback AJ McCarron is set to become an unrestricted free agent. McCarron, 27, spent the first four years of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals backing up starter Andy Dalton.

McCarron, a three-year starter at Alabama from 2011-2013, was part of three national championship teams. His Crimson Tide stats were impressive. In 53 games (40 starts), McCarron threw for 77 touchdowns and only 15 interceptions. His completion rate was 66.8%. Despite his success, he fell to the fifth-round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Scouts blamed his attitude and arrogance, while McCarron blamed a shoulder injury as the main reason for the fall.

Due to that shoulder soreness, the Bengals put the signal caller on the Non-Football Injury List following his first training camp with the team. He spent the first 13 weeks of his rookie season removed from the active roster. As a result, the team did not consider the season as an accrued year towards unrestricted free agency.

McCarron filed a grievance against the Bengals which claimed he should have been activated earlier. He won, and all indications are he will become an unrestricted free agent on March 14th.

The soon-to-be former Bengal is 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds. He has limited NFL experience but has shown promise when under center. McCarron started three games in 2015, leading Cincinnati to a 2-1 record. During that stretch he went 79 of 119 (66.4%) for 854 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions.

He also has one playoff start under his belt. McCarron started a Wild Card contest in 2015, going 23 of 41 (56.1%) for one touchdown and one interception. The Bengals lost the game 18-16 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Vikings are in the market for at least one quarterback. It’s likely McCarron will at least receive mid-tier starter money in free agency due to the obvious interest from the Cleveland Browns. The Browns attempted to trade second and third-round picks for McCarron during the regular season but were famously unsuccessful because the paperwork wasn’t filed in time.

Now, the Bengals will likely receive nothing in return for McCarron. At this point it’s unclear whether or not the Vikings are interested in the quarterback.


According to Rapoport, the Vikings may indeed have interest in McCarron.

Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's a Vikings optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and is an IT nerd by day. You can find him on the golf course during summer and on Twitter @SeanBormanNFL.

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Robert Centofanti
3 years ago

I love this kid McCarron. This was the QB I wanted my Vikings to trade for when Teddy went down. He’s young, prototypical size, great leadership, accurate, and has won championships in college. I think he would be great in Minnesota. I hope we consider him. SKOL

3 years ago

McCarron isn’t a bad QB. Could even turn out to be very good. But it would be hard to go all in on such an unproven commodity. If we start with something like Teddy or Case and add McCarron, that’s great. But McCarron and Sloter and door #2 would scare the pants off me.

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