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.
Source: #Bengals QB AJ McCarron won his grievance against the team. He’ll be a free agent.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 15, 2018
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.
From @NFLTotalAccess: #Bengals QB AJ McCarron, who won his grievance, will suddenly be a free agent… and he becomes an intriguing name. Keep an eye on the #Browns and #Vikings, among others. pic.twitter.com/KIhj515SdY
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 16, 2018