You read that headline correctly. Kirk Cousins, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford were the premier free agent signings at the quarterback position during the offseason but the Buffalo Bills potentially made the top deal of the offseason by signing former Cincinnati Bengals backup passer A.J. McCarron. The Bills were able to sign McCarron to a 2-year contract worth $10 million.
McCarron was a star at Alabama, where he led the Crimson Tide to consecutive National Championships before being selected in the fifth-round of the 2014 NFL draft. General manager Brandon Beane has stressed the importance of acquiring a franchise quarterback since he was hired last offseason.
Prior to the 2018 NFL draft, Beane reiterated his stance on the importance of pursuing a franchise quarterback relentlessly.
“You’ve got to have a franchise quarterback,” in a press conference days before the 2018 NFL Draft. He continued with, “That’s one of the main jobs of a GM, is to find a franchise quarterback. It’s a quarterback league. I’ll say it every single time. You have to have one.”
Despite appearing in just 11 career games in his NFL career, McCarron has a strong chance to enter the 2018 regular season as the Bills’ starting passer. The Bills traded up to select Josh Allen with the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, but as much physical talent that the 6-foot-5, 232-pound Wyoming product possesses, the rookie is extremely raw and needs time to develop. Allen completed just 56.2-percent of his passes and his accuracy is an area of his game that needs dramatic improvement if he hopes to enjoy sustained success at the NFL level.
This is where McCarron is the key.
With only three regular season starts under his belt, McCarron is a bit of an unknown and expectations are nearly nonexistent. It was common knowledge that Buffalo was prepared to be aggressive in adding a quarterback early in the draft, so expectations for the fifth-year veteran were low upon his arrival.
McCarron has a 64.7-completion percentage in his limited action with a 93.6 passer rating.
While the statistical production isn’t eye-popping, is a player that has done a good job facilitating the offense, limiting turnovers and playing smart.
McCarron won consecutive National Championships during his collegiate career at Alabama where he threw fo over 6,000 passing yards, tossing 58 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions while completing over 62-percent of his passes in the 2011-12 seasons.
A fifth-round selection by the Cincinnati Bengals, McCarron never had a chance to earn a starting job, as the team already had their franchise passer in Andy Dalton. Now, he’s in a wide-open competition with a rough second-year quarterback in Nathan Peterman and rookie Josh Allen.
McCarron will finally get the opportunity he deserves and more importantly, he’ll have the chance to prove his naysayers wrong if he can perform at a high level.