The Cincinnati Bengals could be in the market for a new quarterback this offseason.
You already know how AJ McCarron is an unrestricted free agent, making it highly unlikely he’s back in Cincinnati next season. Instead, he’ll look to sign a lucrative contract and get a chance to start for another NFL team.
That leaves only Andy Dalton and Jeff Driskel as quarterbacks under contract. It’s rare for an NFL team to have just two quarterbacks going into offseason workouts, especially when one of them is injured.
Driskel is dealing with an arm injury right now. He broke his arm in the final week of practice in the regular season while lining up at wide receiver.
Now, there’s uncertainty when Driskel will return for offseason workouts. Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin met with media while at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he expressed doubt as to when Driskel will return.
“I don’t know. We’ll find out as we go. When they start reporting back for the offseason program. Then we’ll know,” said Tobin.
Driskel injury may also lead to the Bengals adding another quarterback behind Dalton.
“All options are on the table at that position,” said Tobin. “We’ll look at the unrestricted market. We’ll look at the guys who have been in the league before. We’ll look at the college game. There will be a lot of options available to us.
“It could be we sign a veteran and he’s the guy. It could be that there’s a competition for the second guy. We are not restricting any options for backup quarterback.”
The Bengals have been committed to developing Driskel after claiming him off waivers from San Francisco in 2016 and keeping him on the 53-man roster for the entire season.
Driskel made the Bengals’ initial 53-man roster this past season after a nice showing in the preseason, where he went 14 of 21 for 164 yards and one touchdown, a 66.7 completion percentage. That included eight first downs, a long of 30 yards and a quarterback rating of 106.1. He also had nine runs for 63 yards and one rushing touchdown.
However, Driskel injured his throwing hand in the preseason, and the Bengals put him on injured reserve in Week 1 of the regular season. Then we he got the IR designation to return, he broke his arm in Week 17 during a practice.
Because of Driskel’s recent string of injuries, along with his uncertain status for offseason workouts, it’s very likely the Bengals either draft or sign a quarterback before veterans report for offseason workouts.