The San Francisco 49ers are looking for any and all options at the quarterback position, and that likely means making phone calls to several GMs with quarterbacks on the market.
One quarterback who is on the market is Cincinnati Bengals backup AJ McCarron. Bengals GM Duke Tobin said the team’s phones are working, but he is not in a rush to make a move. His point about teams’ being one injury away from needing the backup QB is certainly notable. But, he also wants to play hard-to-get in some ways.
Cleveland Browns reporter Mary Kay Cabot recently reported on the current QB market, and she heard from one source that the Bengals “would likely want at least a second-round pick” in a deal for McCarron. What they can get for McCarron will depend in part on how the market shakes out with Jimmy Garoppolo, Tyrod Taylor, and Tony Romo. All three could be moved this offseason, but there is also a chance one or more of them ends up back in the same place in 2017.
The Bengals options are a little more complex because of McCarron’s contract situation. He is entering the final year of his contract, like Garoppolo, but McCarron spent a sizable chunk of his rookie year on the NFI list due to shoulder tightness. His contract did not toll, but when he hits free agency a year from now (barring an extension), he will be a restricted free agent. Barring anything unexpected, he will have three accrued seasons instead of four, and so he has to wait another year for unrestricted free agency.
There is a decent chance any trade would include a contract extension for McCarron. However, the Bengals do not need to be in any rush to do a deal given their control over him the next two seasons. Andy Dalton is a capable quarterback, but plenty can change between now and the end of the 2018 season. McCarron could draw a solid return, but they also are in a solid position to be patient and figure out what works best for them.