AJ McCarron’s contract status adds to his trade value

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The Browns reportedly tried and failed to trade for Bengals backup quarterback AJ McCarron at today’s NFL deadline, and they were reportedly willing to give up a second-round pick and a third-round pick to get him. That raised a question: Why is McCarron worth more in a trade than Jimmy Garoppolo, who went from New England to San Francisco yesterday for a second-round pick?

The answer lies in their contracts: Garoppolo becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season, meaning that for the 49ers to keep him they’ll either need to sign him to a long-term deal or use the franchise tag, which would commit about $25 million to him. But McCarron only becomes a restricted free agent after the season, which means the Browns would only have had to use the first-round tender of about $4 million to keep him.

McCarron and Garoppolo have both been in the NFL since they were drafted in 2014, but McCarron has only accrued three seasons toward free agency, not four, which is why McCarron only gets to hit restricted free agency, not unrestricted free agency, in March. McCarron opened his rookie season on the non-football injury list with a shoulder issue stemming from his college days and wasn’t activated to the 53-man roster until December, so he didn’t accrue a season that year.

So it makes some sense that the Browns were willing to give up more for McCarron than the 49ers gave up for Garoppolo, because the Browns could have paid McCarron a lot less next year than the 49ers will have to pay Garoppolo. Instead the deadline passed, McCarron stayed in Cincinnati, and it’s the Bengals who will still control McCarron’s rights when he becomes a restricted free agent in March.

15 responses to “AJ McCarron’s contract status adds to his trade value

  1. I thought there was a dispute about McCarron accruing a season in 2014 and it was going to an independant arbitor. If it’s been resolved and I missed it, fine. If not, the uncertainty about his status would add ambiguity to his trade value.

  2. As a Bengal fan I’d have loved the 2nd and 3rd round picks, and I’m annoyed that Cleveland’s incompetence is at a level where it effects other teams, too.

  3. The best way to improve your status in the NFL is to be a crappy backup quarterback who never gets on the field to show why you’re a backup. Matt Flynn/Brock Osweiler syndrome.

  4. The Bengals be bungling again, they should get rid of that red headed hamster and keep McCarron.

  5. What I wanna know is why does everyone seem to think Garrapolo is so special? Mccarron has started a handful of games with a winning record and a playoff game And he played good enough to and should have won. Garripolo jas really done nothing!!!’!!! He got his shot to play last year and he got hurt. Other than that he been Tom Brady’s towell boy and has barely had any mop up duty.

  6. If the offered that for that bum, we’ll be getting 3 1sts for Alex Smith next season from them.

  7. Uh honesly what has Garrapollo done? McCarron has started a handful of games and has a winning record and all but played good enough to win that playoff game before Jeremy hill and jones gave it away. Garrappolo has been Brady’s towel boy and when he was called upon got crumpled up like a wad of paper. McCarron is the better player.

  8. Finally something breaks for the Browns. It’s bad enough they missed out on Wentz, Watson, and Garoppolo. It’d be even worse had they shipped out those premium picks for an average quarterback at best in McCarron.

  9. This is the best trade that didn’t happen. Mcarron is avg. at best, closer to Osewieler and Kitna.

    The Browns Remind me of the Lions in the mid 2000’s with all the lousy QB’s they put on the field.

    It’s a shame. A good QB would have been able to produce with that OLine. Smh.

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