He’ll probably stay on the roster for at least one more season as the most likely period for him to have been traded has come and gone. On top of that, SI recently ranked the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL and McCarron fell further than expected on the list. Their ranking has McCarron checking in at No. 6 overall, which seems pretty ridiculous considering the hype he’s received ever since filling in for Andy Dalton back in 2015.
The top 12 backups on the list are:
1. Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots
2. Matt Moore, Dolphins
3. Trevor Siemian/Paxton Lynch, Broncos
4. Colt McCoy, Redskins
5. Deshaun Watson, Texans
6. AJ McCarron, Bengals
7. T.J. Yates/Cardale Jones/Nathan Peterman, Bills
8. Mitchell Trubisky/Mike Glennon, Bears
9. Chad Henne, Jaguars
10. Geno Smith, Giants
11. Drew Stanton, Cardinals
12. Kevin Hogan/Brock Osweiler/DeShone Kizer, Browns
No, Colt McCoy is not a better quarterback than McCarron. We’ve seen enough of both to know the latter is superior, even if it’s not by much.
Matt Moore has rarely taken meaningful snaps since 2011, though he did start four games last season in relief of the injured Ryan Tannehill. Moore completed 81 of 118 passes for 1,003 yards with nine touchdowns vs four interceptions and three fumbles (two lost). And at age 32, I doubt any team wants him over McCarron.
You could make a good argument for Trevor Simein being a superior backup, but you can’t make that argument for Paxton Lynch since he has such a limited amount of regular-season snaps. If Siemian is the starter, McCarron should be ranked ahead of Lynch.
As for Deshaun Watson, I do feel confident in him eventually becoming a better NFL quarterback, but he has a lot of work ahead of him to get there. I also think he ends up starting the majority of games for Houston this year over Tom Savage, and McCarron is easily ahead of Savage.
All of that considered, McCarron is still probably the second-best backup quarterback in the league behind Jimmy Garoppolo. Ironically, both will be free agents next your, though Garoppolo will be unrestricted vs McCarron being restricted. At least, that’s how it seems. There is somewhat of a debate as to whether McCarron will actually be a restricted free agent next year. That’s why some NFL experts viewed McCarron as the best quarterback trade target this offseason, but it looks like the Bengals didn’t get an offer they liked enough to deal him.