McCarron's trade value could increase if the Patriots are not willing to trade Jimmy Garappolo, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Garoppolo is the obvious target for any franchise seeking a young backup quarterback, but the Patriots may be asking for a price beyond what other teams are willing to pay. While McCarron could likely be had for a lesser bounty, Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin made it clear the team still values its 26-year-old backup, who filled in capably for an injured Andy Dalton late in the 2015 season. A 2014 fifth-round selection, McCarron is currently slated to become a restricted free agent in 2018, but an unresolved contract issue could push that back to 2019, which would further increase his trade value.
McCarron completed 11-of-16 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in Friday's preseason opener against the Vikings. The former Alabama quarterback is a clear second to Andy Dalton on Cincinnati's depth chart. He looked impressive in a late second quarter touchdown drive, but is unlikely to see meaningful regular season action unless Dalton gets injured.
McCarron completed 23 of 41 passes for 231 yards with a touchdown and an interception in Saturday's 18-16 Wild Card loss to the Steelers. He also gained nine yards on five carries and had three fumbles, losing one and recovering one. While the rookie's final stat line certainly looked respectable, McCarron had a diffcult time holding on to the football throughout the game. He fumbled on successive plays early in the second quarter, with the first miscue the result of a mishandled exchange and the second turnover caused by a Cameron Heyward sack. The third time McCarron was separated from the ball did result in a turnover, with defensive lineman Cam Thomas picking up the ball after it was jarred loose by Jarvis Jones. McCarron's interception came on a badly underthrown pass intended for Marvin Jones in the latter stages of the second quarter that was snagged by the Steelers' Antwan Blake. While the Alabama product certainly gave the Bengals reason for optimism in his four starts in Andy Dalton's stead to finish out the regular season, he was unable to come close to matching the efficiency he'd shown in his 280-yard, two-touchdown effort versus Pittsburgh in his first career start on Dec. 13. He misfired on multiple throws to A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert under what admittedly adverse weather conditions, and was generally unable to exploit what had been a highly vulernable Steelers secondary. His clutch fourth-quarter touchdown pass to A.J. Green was a notable exception however, with McCarron rifling a bullet to Green at the Steelers' two-yard line that the star receiver was able to carry into the end zone. While Dalton's thumb should be at full health entering offseason workouts, McCarron undeniably gained invaluable experience with his stint of regular-season starts and one playoff game.
Head coach Marvin Lewis confirmed Monday that the Bengals are preparing McCarron to start Saturday's playoff opener against the Steelers, Geoff Hobson of the Bengals' official site reports. McCarron fared well in four starts down the stretch for Andy Dalton, completing 66 percent (76 of 115) of his passes for 832 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. In fact, McCarron avoided throwing a pick in each of the final three games of that run, a span of 83 throws, though he averaged just 6.65 yards per attempt. Slated to see a hand specialist about his broken thumb Monday, Dalton could be on the verge of removing his cast with the aim of building up range of motion in his right hand, but the Bengals are clearly comfortable with the notion of McCarron starting a playoff game, assuming Dalton is unable to return Saturday.
McCarron (wrist) completed 17 of 27 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns during Sunday's 24-16 win over the Ravens. He also rushed three times for two yards and was sacked three times for a loss of 13 yards. McCarron connected with six different receivers, throwing his touchdown passes to tight end Tyler Eifert and wideout A.J. Green. It was his second multi-touchdown game of the season, and given the lack of progress starter Andy Dalton has made in his recovery from a broken thumb on his throwing hand, McCarron could be under center for the Bengals' playoff opener.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3 Year Avg||66.7||427||3||1||16||0||35|