Published: Sat, February 17, 2018
Medical | By Vernon Walton

AJ McCarron Wins Grievance Case Vs. Bengals, Will Become Free Agent

AJ McCarron Wins Grievance Case Vs. Bengals, Will Become Free Agent

An arbitrator has ruled Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron will be an unrestricted free agent when the NFL's 2018 business year begins at 3 p.m. CST March 14.

Unless you're Mike Brown, you have to cheer the arbiter's decision that made McCarron an unrestricted free agent and gave the 27-year-old his freedom from being stuck behind Andy Dalton on the depth chart. What I'm trying to say is that McCarron - like Glennon - presents a team with plenty of cap space an option that has a somewhat attractive combination of experience, upside, youth, and price tag.

McCarron filed the grievance a year ago because he felt the Bengals wrongly listed him on the non-football injury list at the start of his rookie season in 2014.

It was just last October at the trading deadline that Jackson went directly to owner Jimmy Haslam with the intent of trading a second- and a third-round draft pick for McCarron. He finished that season 70-of-119 with 854 passing yards, two interceptions and six touchdowns and led the team to the playoffs.

The non-football injury designation in the NFL doesn't necessarily mean that a player didn't get hurt during a football activity, such as a game or practice; it just means he didn't get hurt during a football activity for an NFL team. The Browns are coached by Hue Jackson, who was McCarron's offensive coordinator with the Bengals for his first two seasons. So why did McCarron have to go through a grievance process with the Bengals in order to hit free agency?

The Vikings had the benefit of having three competent quarterbacks on their roster for the 2017 National Football League season in Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, and Teddy Bridgewater.

Earlier today I wrote about the top five free agent quarterbacks, and boy what a good list it was! While some of those teams are likely to chase Kirk Cousins this offseason, the ones that lose out could view McCarron has a solid consolation prize.

They don't get the second- and third-round picks that Jackson offered past year. It's going to affect the entire quarterback market in free agency.

McCarron most recently started and played a full game on January 9, 2016, an AFC wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cousins is the big prize that most quarterback-needy teams are going to be courting. Maybe he can take the team farther than either of them if he ever gets a chance (like say if Dalton gets hurt again).

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