A.J. McCarron to learn free agent status on February 15

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Quarterback A.J. McCarron came close to being traded to the Browns before last October’s trade deadline, but ultimately remained in Cincinnati for the rest of his fourth season with the Bengals.

Players typically are on track for unrestricted free agency after four years, but McCarron’s situation isn’t a typical one. McCarron did not earn an accrued season as a rookie because he was on the non-football injury list for most of the year due to a shoulder injury.

As a result, McCarron is set for restricted free agency but the quarterback filed a grievance arguing that he should have been activated earlier. If it is successful, McCarron would hit the open market in March.

McCarron said Monday, via multiple reports, that he’s set to find out the result of the grievance on February 15. If it’s not granted, the Bengals will likely put a high tender on McCarron to ensure compensation if he does sign with another team and they could make another attempt to trade him.

There is plenty for the Bengals to sort out before that decision comes down and how things play out with Marvin Lewis will likely impact whatever plan they make for McCarron’s future with the team.