The Patriots like their backup quarterback and they are not going to move them. Unless they do.
The same, apparently, can be said for the Cincinnati Bengals, who have once again affirmed their affinity for backup quarterback AJ McCarron, previously drafted by them in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, who got some starting experience in 2015.
“He’s a very valuable piece of what we do”, was their message on McCarron at the Combine. “It’s not like we don’t have a plan for him. He plays a very valuable position and you’re always one play away from going to your backup quarterback. We view our team as team that can challenge. A team that can be in the mix to challenge and if you don’t have a viable No. 2 quarterback you can go to and win with you can tank your entire season”.
Yet they still left the door open: “he’s a very valuable piece of what we do. If somebody wants to call and talk to us, call and talk to us. But they’re going to find out we value AJ McCarron quite a bit”. Sounds familiar? It kind of sounds like every team who has a desirable backup quarterback.
Including the Patriots. Cleveland.com reported Mary Kay Cabot was told that in spite of previous reports, the Patriots are still willing to deal Jimmy Garoppolo and that “everything is still on the table”. She was also told what the Bengals are looking for in exchange for giving up McCarron: at least a second-round pick, which they would be willing to take from a team within the division *cough cough* the Browns *cough cough* excuse me.
The Browns happen to have a lot of draft picks available to them, although it is not clear at this point if they consider McCarron a possibility as a franchise candidate. Then again, they seemed to think that Robert Griffin III might be that last year.
Cabot also said that the Browns are “seriously considering” drafting Mitch Trubisky with the first-overall pick, and are also interested in Deshaun Watson. All that we seemingly know for certain is that the Browns are going to acquire a new quarterback at some point during the offseason who is going to be their opening-day starter.
Could it be McCarron? I suppose so, especially if he can be had for less than a first-round draft pick, which is seemingly be the bare minimum price tag if the Browns do indeed look to go after Garoppolo, which many who cover the team believe is their intention.
Regarding McCarron, it is reportedly to be decided how many accrued seasons he has, because he spent most of his rookie season on the non-football injury list. If an independent arbitrator rules that he did not accrue a season, then the Bengals—or whoever trades for him—will still control him for two more seasons.