AJ McCarron has a pending grievance filed against the Bengals

Apparently, the feeling is mutual for Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback AJ McCarron: He too, does not want to be a Bengal any longer.

Days after a strangely botched trade attempt which would have shipped McCarron to the Cleveland Browns, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that McCarron is awaiting to hear about a grievance he filed against his team earlier this year.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks AJ McCarron (R) and Andy Dalton (L) talk before a game earlier this season. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)

The ruling is significant because it could determine whether the Browns can sign McCarron without compensation to Cincinnati or whether Cleveland would have to trade for his rights.

If the arbitrator rules that McCarron, 27, is a restricted free agent, Cincinnati likely would place a first-round tender on him, Schefter added.

In 2014, McCarron passed his post-draft physical, only to be placed on the non-football injury list at the start of training camp due to a shoulder issue. This upset McCarron because he felt that he was in fact healthy enough to play.

It is because of this that the former Alabama standout is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, instantly zapping his earning potential. However, if McCarron was an unrestricted free agent, his leverage would be significantly increased.


As things stand, he remains Andy Dalton’s backup. Earlier this season, amid a horrendous stretch of play from Dalton, McCarron stood up for his teammate, telling reporters: “I love him to death, but he’s our quarterback, stop making it into something else.”

The only real game work that McCarron has received was in 2015, when he started three regular-season games – two of which he won – and amassed 854 yards passing along with six touchdowns and two interceptions. He also started a playoff game that season, a loss against Pittsburgh.

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