One month into the offseason, it looked as though second-year quarterback AJ McCarron was going to be the primary backup behind Andy Dalton.
Now, that's anything but certain with the addition of Josh Johnson, who enters his seventh season in the NFL; that's if he's on the roster to open 2015. Johnson has played in 29 games with five starts, going 96 of 177 for 1,042 yards, five scores and 10 interceptions.
While those aren't spectacular numbers, they dwarf McCarron's zero career passes. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson knows this, and he's going to let the two battle for the backup spot in training camp.
"There’ll be a healthy competition, no question about that," said Jackson, via Bengals.com. "Josh is a guy we know and knows our system and the coaches are comfortable with him. He’s obviously a guy that can run as well. A.J., we really don’t know yet. We like the little bit that we saw, and we’re hoping to see the things we liked when he was at Alabama."
McCarron may have to worry about his roster spot this year as well. If he were to be waived during final August cuts, it's realistic he'd make it back to Cincinnati via the practice squad, which he's still eligible to join.
There's also a possible reunion looming between Jackson and arguably his best receiver from his days in Oakland. Denarius Moore visited the Bengals on Thursday with hopes of possibly reviving his career with the man whom he broke into the NFL under.
The best season of Moore's career was in 2012, when he caught 51 passes for 741 yards and seven touchdowns . That came one year after he caught 33 passes for 618 yards and five scores in 13 games under Jackson as his head coach.
"He did a good for us as a rookie. He could run," Jackson said. "If we end up getting him we’ll be looking to see if he can still go like that. You can never have too many good players."
Moore hasn't signed yet, but he would be a huge addition if he could reclaim his 2012 form. He hasn't done anything of note the past two seasons, but still could be a nice under-the-radar pickup for Cincinnati if they do sign him.