The AJ McCarron era with the Bengals is now officially over.
On Wednesday, the Bills announced they signed McCarron to a two-year deal. For now, he’ll be projected as Buffalo’s starting quarterback heading into the 2018 season after they traded Tyrod Taylor to the Browns.
Per PFT, the deal is $10 million with an additional $6.5 million possible based on playing time incentives.
AJ McCarron deal in Buffalo: Two years, $10 million with $6.5 million upside based on playing time. Per source.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 15, 2018
The only time when McCarron has been able to start for the Bengals was in 2015 when Dalton went down with a thumb injury. In Dalton’s place, McCarron put up 895 yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions in four starts (five games). He also nearly led the Bengals to their first playoff win in over two decades.
That stretch was a big reason why NFL teams may be willing to pony up a big contract offer, though his market hasn’t been quite as big as expected.
After initially being a restricted free agent in 2018, McCarron filed a grievance against the Bengals in hopes of changing his status to an unrestricted free agent. He won it, which allows him to become an unrestricted free agent and be free to sign with anyone without said team having to give compensation to the Bengals.
However, the Bengals will still get some type of draft pick from this ordeal, though it will be a compensatory pick in 2018. It also will be, at best, a third-round pick, so it won’t be close to the reported second and third-round picks the Bengals were set to get from the Browns in a trade that fell through at the 2017 trade deadline.