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AJ McCarron wins grievance, will become unrestricted free agent in March

This will add some intrigue to the QB market. Even if he’s not overly impressive.

The 2018 veteran quarterback market just got an injection of talent. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron won his grievance against the team, according to multiple reports. He will switch from a restricted free agent to an unrestricted free agent.

McCarron completed his fourth season in the NFL this year, but only had three seasons of accrued service time. The Bengals placed him on the NFI list due to a shoulder injury he had suffered in his final season at the University of Alabama. The NFI list is for players injured outside of their football time with the team, and that includes college injuries.

McCarron was removed from the NFI list in December of his rookie season, but it was too late for him to earn a year of accrued service time. A player with three accrued seasons when his contract ends becomes a restricted free agent, while a player with four accrued seasons becomes an unrestricted free agent. That’s a huge difference, and this is a big deal for McCarron.

Kirk Cousins remains the biggest name on a market that could include Case Keenum, Tyrod Taylor, and some others. Drew Brees can become a free agent, but all indications are that he will stay with in New Orleans. McCarron has been a serviceable backup, and was almost dealt to the Cleveland Browns for a second and third round pick.

McCarron is not someone that will wow, but in a league always looking for something at the quarterback, somebody is going to pay him probably more than he is worth. It will be interesting to see who that ends up being.