Could Bengals look to trade Andy Dalton, keep AJ McCarron?
The Bengals came close to trading A.J. McCarron before last week’s deadline, but the deal fell through either because of incompetence, unwillingness, or both from the Browns. Cincinnati could explore moving McCarron again in the offseason, but what if they decided to hand him the reigns instead?
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that McCarron has filed a grievance against the Bengals seeking to become an unrestricted free agent this winter rather than a restricted free agent. Teams might be discouraged from signing McCarron if he loses the grievance, as the Bengals would likely place a first-round tender on him. But Schefter also notes that it’s possible Andy Dalton could be the one traded.
Dalton is finished with the guaranteed money portion of his contract; his $13.7 million salary for next season is not guaranteed, and Cincinnati can trade or release him without any salary-cap charges, according to a review of his deal.
Dalton always enjoyed playing for Jackson and Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden, who both previously served as offensive coordinators in Cincinnati and who both could be in need of a quarterback. Both Jackson and Gruden liked Dalton as well, a source told ESPN.
Washington could be in need of a starting quarterback if Kirk Cousins, who is on an expiring contract, leaves as a free agent.
Dalton struggled in 2016 and is off to another less-than-stellar start this year. He has thrown just 11 touchdown passes in seven games and has eight interceptions during that span.
The Browns obviously had some level of interest in McCarron, but one report claimed there was some disagreement about the quarterback within the organization. Teams would probably be more interested in McCarron than Dalton at this point, as the former at least has a higher ceiling.