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Patriots won’t trade Jimmy Garoppolo; great news for Bengals and AJ McCarron

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Jimmy Garoppolo was the more likely quarterback to be traded this offseason, but now AJ McCarron could be the top trade target.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

If the Bengals are going to get an AJ McCarron trade done, the club is going to need some help from the rest of the league.

By that, I mean not only will several teams need to go into the NFL Draft without an established passer, but it would help if there are also not any other viable options available on the trade market. To this point, the only other viable trade target has been Jimmy Garoppolo.

However, the Patriots are surprising many people around the league by reportedly opting not to deal their backup quarterback, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Former Patriots executive thinks this is actually the Patriots being really high on Garoppolo, not a lack of trade interest for him. The Patriots simply don’t currently trust Jacoby Brissett and want to have a reliable backup behind future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.

If the Patriots end up keeping Garoppolo through the draft, that’s great news for the Bengals as they are open to hearing offers to trade McCarron. Garoppolo was viewed as a guy worthy of first-round picks in this year’s draft, and McCarron could be, too. Though, that remains to be seen. But it would have been hard to envision both Garoppolo and McCarron being dealt for such compensation, and Garoppolo has appeared to be No. 1 on every team’s list of quarterbacks they could trade for.

Now, McCarron is the No. 1 guy, and that should only increase his value as Cincinnati looks for a first-round pick for the former fifth-round selection. It’s still hard to see a team giving up that much for a quarterback who has just four career starts (including one in the playoffs) under his belt.

I think it’s more likely a team gives up a high second-round selection, like the Browns (pick No. 33), 49ers (34), Bears (36), or Jets (39). The Bengals shouldn’t be greedy (laughing at typing that) and pass on getting one of those picks if that’s the best offer they get.

There should be first-round-caliber prospects still on the board with one of those early second round picks, and getting to trade McCarron for one of them is something Cincinnati cannot pass on, if of course that deal comes to fruition.

But, as recently as today, Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin made it known that McCarron will not come cheap. So, if teams are interested in the Bengals’ backup, they will surely need to pay up a significant amount.

Tobin also spoke about McCarron’s value to the team back in January.

“AJ is used to the big stage and when he got on it, he produced. So he’s become a very valuable piece of our team,” Tobin told Cincinnati.com. “Even though you don’t see him on the field that much, he’s become an extremely valuable piece of our team.”

Tobin added that the Bengals’ trust in McCarron as a backup quarterback is a big plus for a “contending” (a word he used on Wednesday a the Combine) team.

“Whenever he’s in the game or whenever we would have to put him in the game we feel comfortable that he can get the job done,” Tobin said. “That’s a credit to him and the coaches for getting him ready with limited practice.”

If Garoppolo is truly off-the-market, it should raise interest in McCarron.