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Free agent quarterbacks the Bengals could sign to replace AJ McCarron

Could the Bengals add another quarterback to compete for the backup position behind Andy Dalton via free agency?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Now that AJ McCarron is officially an unrestricted free agent, he’ll most likely end up on another squad in 2018.

Making matters worse, the new information of Jeff Driskel dealing with a broken hand brings an added layer of uncertainty to the backup quarterback position for the Bengals.

This means the Bengals only have two quarterbacks on their roster, and one of them may not even be healthy for offseason workouts. That means the Bengals could be looking into free agency to see if they can find a backup for Dalton, and someone who will compete with Driskel.

After all, Driskel really did only have one good preseason game. The idea that he is irreplaceable really shouldn’t be a thing.

Now, the Bengals obviously aren’t going to go out and sign Kirk Cousins. These are realistic backup quarterback options for the Bengals. These aren’t guys that are going to come in and compete with Dalton. That just won’t happen with Marvin Lewis around.

Josh McCown (Jets): McCown had a pretty decent 2017. He threw for 18 touchdowns with only nine interceptions, and he had the Jets believing for a little bit during the season. He is a well-traveled quarterback, and he could almost act as a second coach for Andy Dalton.

Some may say McCown could be looking for a better chance at starting, but unless he is going to be a bridge quarterback for a team that is drafting a quarterback I just don’t see it. Even then McCown will be 39 by the start of the 2018 season, and I doubt there is a team ready to hand him the keys.

Sam Bradford (Vikings): Bradford isn’t the ideal backup, but he could very well be a guy the Bengals end up with once the market settles. Bradford is only 30, but injuries seem to be catching up with him at this point during his career. He is likely still hell-bent on proving he wasn’t a bust of a first overall pick, but I doubt he finds that opportunity he’s looking for this offseason, unless he is willing to start for a team like the Cardinals or Jets, but those teams are probably going to be looking more towards the top of the free agent quarterbacks as well as drafting one. Bradford has shown he can be reliable to come in and move the ball, but the injuries aren’t something you want to worry about with a backup.

Drew Stanton (Cardinals): With Bruce Arians retiring and a new coach coming in, Stanton may be looking for a new team as the Cardinals look to revamp their quarterback room. Stanton would be the ideal backup for the Bengals. He is very experienced, but he doesn’t have the success to threaten Dalton. He will also likely be a very cheap option for them. He won’t be looked at for any starting jobs, so Stanton will probably end up being the Bengals’ safety net that they may even be able to sign after the draft.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (Bucs): Tell me this doesn’t make the most sense. The Bengals love bringing back players who know this team. It has been awhile since Fitzpatrick took over for an injured Carson Palmer in 2008 when he somehow only threw eight touchdowns and nine interceptions through 13 games. He has played for five teams since then. Most notably was his time with the Bills and Jets.

To his credit, since leaving the Bengals he has only thrown more interceptions than touchdowns once. He isn’t a starter anymore, but he did help the Bucs win a few games in 2017 when Jameis Winston was out. He could be a little pricey considering how much teams are about to value backup quarterbacks following Nick Foles’ run for a Super Bowl, but he may be the best realistic option the Bengals have.