McCarron wins grievance; will be unrestricted free agent

McCarron's right. The Bengals wanted McCarron to be a restricted free agent so they could either hang onto him or get something in return for him. McCarron then started the Bengals playoff game, throwing 41 times (completing 56.1 percent, 5.2 YPA, 1-1 TD-INT) and briefly taking a late lead before the Pittsburgh Steelers won the game on their final possession. The Bengals aren't going to franchise their backup quarterback. Over that time, he went 99 of 156 for 1,044 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. On Thursday, McCarron made it clear that he harbors no hard feelings toward the Bengals despite the way this process has unfolded.

The 2014 fifth-round pick filed a grievance against the Bengals, arguing that they unnecessarily kept him on the Non-Football Injury List during his rookie season, a decision that prevented him from acquiring a season of accrued experience, which would have prevented him from becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Unfortunately, they are not going to be the only players at the table when it comes to McCarron.

In October, the Bengals had a deal in place with Cleveland to trade McCarron.

The former Crimson Tide star told The Cincinnati Enquirer's Jim Owczarski that the ruling was a "blessing" for his career. That's crucial, because a player becomes an unrestricted free agent if he has played three years in the league and received a qualifying offer from his team.

The 27-year-old has started three regular season games in his career, including one postseason start back in 2015.

The Browns played in Cincinnati less than a month after the failed trade, and Jackson introduced McCarron to owner Jimmy Haslam on the field before the game.

In addition to McCarron, Minnesota's Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater, Philadelphia's Nick Foles and Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor could be possibilities if they become available.

Quarterback is the NFL's most stubborn and common problem, and it very rarely presents its teams with ideal solutions. This is the nature of the quarterback market, and because of that, McCarron fits into it just fine.

In the right hands I have no doubt that McCarron could produce in the National Football League, whether or not he ends up in those hands or not is another question.

Cousins is the big prize that most quarterback-needy teams are going to be courting. "I think I would have had some success playing for Hue (Jackson)". What I'm trying to say is that McCarron - like Glennon - presents a team with plenty of cap space an option that has a somewhat attractive combination of experience, upside, youth, and price tag.

  • Julie Sanders