It appears that we can add another name to the quarterback free agent festival that will be kicking off in less than a month.
Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback A.J. McCarron, who has served as the backup to Andy Dalton for the past few seasons, won his grievance against the Bengals today. He filed the grievance due to a shoulder injury he suffered in 2014. In that grievance, he said the Bengals did not activate him soon enough and he was therefore unable to accrue a season towards unrestricted free agency. The league agreed with him, and he will now be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on 14 March.
McCarron becoming available might add a twist to things in the quarterback free agency bonanza. Just before the trade deadline this past season, the Bengals and the Cleveland Browns reportedly had a deal worked out that would have sent McCarron to Cleveland in exchange for second and third-round picks. However, there was some sort of snafu. . .on whose end is the subject of some debate. . .and the trade ultimately fell through. Now that they can get McCarron for nothing but a contract. . .and given that they were clearly interested in him. . .would the Browns be inclined to turn their attention to McCarron and stay out of the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes?
For that matter, would the Vikings potentially be interested in McCarron? His time with the Bengals did not intersect with Mike Zimmer’s time as their defensive coordinator, so there wouldn’t be any sort of advantage on that front, but McCarron is still young and has shown potential.
McCarron was a part of the same draft class as Teddy Bridgewater, although he did go four rounds after Bridgewater did. Given Bridgewater’s injury history, the Vikings could potentially feel more comfortable with McCarron instead. I don’t think there’s a great chance that the Vikings would pursue McCarron, but there’s a chance, I suppose.
But, the league has added one more name to the list of free agent quarterbacks for the Vikings, or any other team with a need at the position, to consider this offseason.