AJ McCarron is officially going to be an unrestricted free agent after he won his grievance against the Bengals.
Grievance makes it sound worse than it was. It almost makes it sound like the two sides were at odds with each other, but that was never the case. McCarron, the Bengals’ organization and Mike Brown never got into over this very crucial grievance.
“It was just business,” McCarron told Geoff Hobson of the Bengals’ official site. “They had to do what was best for them and I had to do what was best for me. It was never anything personal. I loved the city, loved the fans, loved everything about it. It’s an awesome place to play.”
It really felt like both sides did see where the other was coming from. That is why Brown tried to get McCarron what he wanted by sending him to Cleveland at the trade deadline.
That move would have been unheard of since the Bengals haven’t made a trade within the division like that since 1972. It was too good of a deal to pass up though for Brown, but still at the heart of it was trying to get McCarron somewhere to give him a chance to do what he has wanted to do his whole career, play.
“To get the chance to be able to show what I can do and get out there and compete, that’s really all you want as a player,” McCarron said. “I’m just so glad the waiting is over and now my family and I can get on with the next chapter in our lives.”
It is rare you see such a disagreement end so pleasantly between both sides. Usually. grievances like this end up with contempt from the player as the team tries to do what is best for them, which in most cases could end up costing them huge amounts of money.
An example of that was when Jimmy Graham filed a grievance against the Saints when he was franchise tagged as a tight end. He contested that he should get the receiver tag since he rarely lined up as a tight end in the offense.
There was quite a bit of money on the line as tagging a player as a tight end was significantly cheaper than tagging them as a receiver. Ultimately, the Saints won the grievance, but that bad blood remained until the Saints traded him to the Seahawks.
The thing with this is you can tell even if the Bengals won that there would be no bad blood. Really, the only difference is how free agency would have gone for McCarron.
Despite there being talk of the Bengals wanting to possibly keep McCarron for another season, I feel like the team would have parted ways with the quarterback giving him the chance to play somewhere.
Restricted free agency would have limited the suitors for McCarron, but someone still would have taken the chance on him giving up compensation for him.
You have to feel good for the guy. McCarron never fussed even though he had every right to. He just came in and did his job knowing his opportunity would come. Now that it is here he looks back on Cincinnati and says “there were precious memories.”