Early this week, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said AJ McCarron is not on the trading block and any offers for the Bengals backup quarterback would be "respectfully declined".
But don't tell that to Bengals owner Mike Brown who told the Cincinnati Enquirer and other members of the media at the NFL meetings today that, "every football player is for sale if the right offer comes along."
"That’s the nature of the business. Do I see something happening right now? I don’t," Brown said, but added, "‘Never’ is a word you want to be careful about."
The debate on McCarron goes both ways. While some believe the Bengals should take advantage of teams needy of a quarterback and cash in with a trade now, others realize McCarron has already proven himself to be a viable replacement should Andy Dalton suffer another injury. And, a backup quarterback who can win is highly valuable at the NFL level.
McCarron seems to have already mentally prepared to stay with the Bengals.
"I'm not expecting anything," McCarron told Yahoo Sports. "I'm expecting if anything, really, to be in Cincinnati and be a part of the great organization again in Cincy and have fun with my teammates again. I'm just looking forward to whatever happens and getting back to work."
The Denver Broncos, recently sent a conditional 2017 pick to the Eagles in exchange for Mark Sanchez due to losing both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler during the early offseason. They might be willing to pay a king's ransom for a young, highly developable, starting caliber quarterback with some experience like McCarron.
McCarron has a particularly high trade value at the moment after proving himself with the Bengals in the final games of the 2015 season. A quarterback who is in form and has two years remaining on his rookie contract could evoke fairly substantial trade offers from teams desperate for a starter.
Along with the Broncos, there's also teams out there like the Jets, Browns and 49ers who, for one reason or another, have a fairly substantial hole to fill at the quarterback position right now. Trading for McCarron would be like drafting a quarterback in the late first or early second round, with the bonus of already having some experience starting in the NFL.
While the compensation in exchange for McCarron would likely need to include at least a first round pick draft pick for the Bengals to consider the trade, working out a trade for McCarron could be a win for both the Bengals and the team interested in McCarron's services.