Have we already seen the last of AJ McCarron in Cincinnati?
That's doubtful, but anytime you have a backup quarterback who showed as much promise as McCarron did with a franchise quarterback like Andy Dalton already in place, it's not unheard of for an NFL team to trade the backup for a high draft pick. We've seen guys like McCarron come into the NFL, have a few good games and later get traded for a third or even second-round draft pick.
But are the Bengals willing to part with McCarron for a good draft pick?
McCarron himself could see it happening, and he's ready for whatever happens this offseason. McCarron talked about possibly being traded during an interview with Yahoo Sports on Monday while saying he's ready for whatever happens.
"I'm a big believer in God has a plan," McCarron said. "God has a plan for me. I don't need to rush it. If it happens, whether I get traded this offseason or not, whatever happens happens.
While McCarron knows nothing is assured in this league, he does think remaining with the Bengals is likely to happen this year.
"I'm not expecting anything," McCarron said. "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."
McCarron showed a lot during his brief stint as the Bengals' starting passer in 2015, completing 102 of 160 passes (64 percent) for 1,066 yards with seven touchdowns and three picks. That includes the playoffs loss to Pittsburgh in which McCarron guided the Bengals to a near-win, and it's possible that was his last game in stripes.
While McCarron probably won't ask for a trade, he's not hiding from the fact he really wants to and knows he could start for another NFL team.
"It's tough because I want to play," McCarron said. "It's as simple as that, but like I said, I love the organization I'm with, that I'm a part of. I'm very thankful to them for taking the chance on me and giving me the opportunity. And I love my teammates."
During his time with the Bengals, McCarron has constantly talked up Andy Dalton as a great teammate and mentor that's helped him develop into an NFL quarterback.
"Andy's like a big brother to me," McCarron said. "We have a great relationship. We both supported each other this past year, and he's an awesome guy to learn from and be in the QB room with."
Even though McCarron could probably net the Bengals a pretty good draft pick, I doubt they'll look to move him. Dalton going down last year reminded the Bengals how valuable a backup quarterback is. Unless another team is willing to overpay for McCarron in terms of compensation, expect him to be back in Cincinnati next year.