AJ McCarron can make up to $16.5 million over two years

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When the music stopped on Tuesday, AJ McCarron was doing the John-Travolta-in-Pulp-Fiction-look-around-the-room-and-wonder-what-the-hell-is-going-on thing. On Wednesday, McCarron opted to pounce on the only starting job that was still open.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, McCarron’s deal with the Bills has a base value of $10 million. He can make another $6.5 million based on playing time.

The signing bonus is $4 million, and he’ll earn a guaranteed base salary of $900,000 in 2018.

He has a $3 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2019 league year, along with a $1.9 million salary. Of that amount, $1.1 million is guaranteed for injury at signing. It becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2019 league year.

The incentive package pays $1 million is he takes 60 percent of the snaps this year, and another $1 million if he takes 75 percent of the snaps. If McCarron takes 75 percent of the snaps, his base for 2019 also escalates by $2.5 million.

He also can get $1 million for taking 60 percent of the snaps in 2019, and another $1 million for taking 75 percent of the snaps in 2019. If he takes 75 percent of the snaps in 2019 but fails to do so in 2018, he’ll get the $2.5 million escalator for 2019 as an incentive instead.

For a guy with no other current options that would have put him at the top of the depth chart, it’s not just the best deal he could have done. It’s the only deal. His only alternative would have been to wait for a starter on another team to implode or get injured.

This way, McCarron will get the full offseason to prepare as the starter, with the rookie the Bills inevitably draft most likely kept on ice, possibly for all of 2018.

67 responses to “AJ McCarron can make up to $16.5 million over two years

  1. The Bills settled low. A joke organization and one of the laughingstocks of the NFL. They have done nothing to substantially improve their team with this signing

  2. The Bills front office put themselves in position for a win-win. Now it’s up to the players.

    They sure were smart waiting it out. When Keenum went fast, then Bradford, they had to know that they were firmly in the driver’s seat.

  3. Maybe AJ is better than some of give him credit for, IT’s a team friendly
    deal so what does anyone have to lose. Well except Bills fans.

  4. For those who poo-poo this, it’s a tad more than Foles contract. That would be a top notch back-up contract. It’s a totally cheap presumed starter’s contract.

    Nothing personal but Foles was successful at the exact right time. He had a bunch of shots. McCarron had but one shot and proved he belonged in this league at least as an elite back-up with a shot at starting. That’s what he’s getting.

  5. I gotta say, the bills are lookin good. Really good trades. They are gonna be a force. And they haven’t even drafted yet.

  6. amaf21 says:
    March 14, 2018 at 8:49 pm
    smart move by whaley and co.
    ————–
    Fans who post on other sports websites often laugh at the “low IQ” nature of some of the people who post on PFT, and it’s people like you who give them fuel to keep laughing.
    Whaley hasn’t been the Bill GM for nearly a year.

  7. Not that I think it’s a bad thing, but he wasn’t even hired as a starter? The contract is structures around snaps. If you are hired as the starter you are presumed to take 100% of the snaps. Yes the Bills settled low, but if they are drafting high – which I think they will – they did this smart. McCarron – my opinion – not a starter in the NFL. Never will be. You’re not looking for him to do anything to improve your team. You are acknowledging you have NO QB in the the room.

  8. Considering how bad the Bills existing QB’s were, this is an upgrade by default. The Bills went from having incompetence at position with no upside to someone who is stable and who MIGHT have potential. It is having some potential where I rate this as a significant upgrade over the choker and fraud Taylor.

  9. This could work out well for both McCarron and the Bills. If AJ is as good as everyone thinks he is, they’ll be getting a steal. Also, if he’s as good as everyone thinks he is he’ll be able to demand a much bigger deal in two years.

  10. eaglesmancave says:
    March 14, 2018 at 9:13 pm
    Man, still a lot of trash QB’s getting deals. Bradford, McCarron, Taylor, Bortles, McCown. Trash!

    Not trash, but those with questions. I expected the Jags to take a run at one, then flip Bortles id they got an upgrade, but it was Denver that flipped Simien.

    That made Buffalo the best of a limited set of choices-Cleveland, Kansas City(Backup), or Chicago(Backup).

  11. I think this whole QB musical chairs thing is a joke. Cousins is overrated with a losing record and a really losing record against teams with winning records. Keenan caught lightening in a bottle, maybe he is the guy who helped the Vikings get all those wins or maybe the guy who showed up in the playoffs, Bradford is made out of glass so that contract is a joke, Bortles was on the bubble as a the Jags starting coming out of the playoffs (very up and down), Taylor wasn’t good enough to remain the starter of a playoff team and was dumped for a 3rd round pick, McCown is turning 39 and McCarron has all of four starts. These teams have put on rose color glasses and are chasing fools gold with all of these guys, the only guy who is a proven year over year winner is Alex Smith and he is the guy who started the who QB marry-go-round.

    As for the rookies that are being so highly touted, 50% success rate is the best one can reasonably expect out of this crew. So 4 might be picked in the top ten picks and 2 might work out. There is a reason that the position is the highest paid in sports and these teams are just kidding themselves with these signings. Throwing away money and picks!

  12. Wish AJ the best. Glad he gets a chance to start. He almost pulled off a miracle in 2016 it still stings not getting that win in the playoffs. Also the fact that he was sticking up for Dalton last season when everyone was calling for his benching. That’s a kind of guy I want on my team. Good luck in Buffalo.

  13. Sean McDermott is the real deal. He is building a solid team that will peak right when Brady is too old to play and Belichick retires. The Bills will own that division in a few years.

  14. Never understood the hate against him. He broke SEC passing records, he read defenses fairly accurate which is a plus playing against great SEC defenses, and he knows how to win. Yes he has an average arm and was surrounded by great talent but guess what folks, so was Brady when he first came into the league. Can’t hold that against him.

  15. AJ doesn’t care about the dollars. Have you seen his wife? Or listened to Brent Musburger? I would play for free. AJ is just chillng and getting paid 8 figures to play starting QB for an NFL team.

  16. It’s a vicious cycle and no one does this better then the Bills, Browns, Jets, and Bears. Thank god I am a Bengals fan.
    ———————————————————————————————-
    Let’s see. The Bengals go to two super bowls in the 80’s and lose them both. The Bills go to the SB 4 times in a row, but lose them all. By that metric alone I’d say god isn’tisn’t doing the Bengals any favors.

  17. Brent Musberger would say he’s a lucky guy, even if his hot girlfriend has to wear long underwear for 6 months.

  18. Slight improvement over backup money. Very low if they intend for him to be their starter. Do the Bills have an elaborate plan or is Beane just winging it? Buffalo Winging it…

  19. Not to worry fellow Lake Erie dwellers. The curse of Cleveland insures Mccarron to be the next great QB due to Cle. botching the trade for him last year. Passed on Wentz, Passed on Watson, Wiffed on Mccarron. Took Tyrod off your hands. UUUGGGGHHH!!

  20. Not sure if I’ve ever said this, but GOOD FOR THE BILLS!

    Instead of overpaying for one of the other relatively unproven or inconsistent guys out of desperation in an effort to make a splash (Vikings?) , they made a financially sound move with nothing but upside. If AJ is nothing more than a placeholder for a year or two, you’re not breaking the bank and have enough cap space to build up a team around your future young QB. If he turns out to live up to the hype and looks like he can be a long term option, you get two years on the cheap before extending the deal.

  21. omeletpants says:
    March 14, 2018 at 8:44 pm
    The Bills settled low. A joke organization and one of the laughingstocks of the NFL. They have done nothing to substantially improve their team with this signing
    ***********************************
    Says the scared Pats fan. This guy is better than Dalton every day of the week, and unlike Brady he wasn’t the reason his team got knocked out of the post season.

  22. joshhatesthesteelers says:
    March 14, 2018 at 9:14 pm
    Today is a very sad day for McCarron. The Bills will draft either Rosen or Allen, who both suck,and as soon as AJ has one bad game the Bills in true losers fashion will bench AJ, and throw either one of these garbage rookie QB’s to the wolves. And in 2019 they will be looking for a QB again. It’s a vicious cycle and no one does this better then the Bills, Browns, Jets, and Bears. Thank god I am a Bengals fan.

    —-

    Whoa cowboy relax. First off I wouldn’t celebrate the Bengals over any of those teams. You haven’t really done anything either. At least the Bears have made a Super Bowl this millennium and the Jets have made a few AFCCGs. Andy Dalton is a career 88.7 passer (that is low). And the Bengals have a tendency to sabotage their success with …odd…play at all times. Think of the Pittsburgh game that once again kept you out of the 2nd round. Think before you rant. No one would actually call the Bungles winners.

  23. nickinneohio says:
    March 14, 2018 at 10:14 pm
    Not to worry fellow Lake Erie dwellers. The curse of Cleveland insures Mccarron to be the next great QB due to Cle. botching the trade for him last year. Passed on Wentz, Passed on Watson, Wiffed on Mccarron. Took Tyrod off your hands. UUUGGGGHHH!!

    ————————–

    Wait till you see what Mahomes is gonna do.

  24. omeletpants says:
    March 14, 2018 at 8:44 pm
    The Bills settled low. A joke organization and one of the laughingstocks of the NFL. They have done nothing to substantially improve their team with this signing
    _______________________________________
    The Bills waited and got a QB that has potential… at a decent price(10M). Keenum is getting 32M over two years and has the same chance of failing. Smart move by Beane! Do you know math? 32M is much more than 10M… for basically the same probability of failure.

  25. Hey, people, don’t hate on us Bengals fans because of what one idiot @joshhatesthesteelers says. Most Bengals fans root for the Bills, Bears, etc. because we’re all in the same boat of trying to improve. I wish AJ lots of success, he is a true team player. And, when the Bills fans came to Cincy the past 2 years, they’ve been great.

  26. jxt2521 says:
    March 14, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    I can’t beleive I just read the words Elite Backup in a comment.

    —-

    technicaly they already had a elite backup tyrod taylor, as he won a superbowl.

  27. March 14, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Steal. Beane is a genius. No way anybody can knock this deal.
    ————————————————————————-

    Well at least not until AJ craps his pants and loses games in the 4th QTR!

    You be missin’ Taylor before Sept ends!

  28. I’m baffled by all of the people who claim with zero evidence to back it up, that Andy Dalton’s long-term backup AJ McCarron is in fact and I quote, “better than Dalton is any day of the week.” So you’re basically claiming that the Bengals purposely started an inferior QB. Why would the Bengals do that?

  29. He has a lot to prove, and, the contract pays him if he does. Good deal for McCarron and a good deal for the team. Draft a QB of the future, one who is a real competitor and pushes McCarron. Not a bad situation.

  30. QB contracts are seriously so broken. I don’t understand how a guy like McCarron, who’s done virtually nothing in this league, makes more money than guys like Bobby Wagner, Michael Crabtree, Devonta Freeman. No offense to McCarron, I’m sure he’s a nice guy and he’ll probably be a fine QB. But I really want to know who decided that unproven QBs are worth so much money. It’s sad when $10mil is considered a good deal.

  31. Can’t be any worse than Taylor. Nice bridge to a rookie. Seems like the Bills and Jets are getting better at the right time when the Pats are on the way down.

  32. “There is a reason that the position is the highest paid in sports”

    —————–
    Not even close. There’s people coming off the bench in the NBA making more money than most quarterbacks.

  33. I don’t agree that all these guys are getting overpaid. It’s just the market price for QB’s shot way up thanks to Jimm G & Cousins. And it just goes up each year in general especially for QB’s. I mean…. I don’t think this year’s crop was great except for a few, but guys like Keenum & McCarron & probably Foles…they’re young & serviceable until a team drafts their hopeful future franchise QB. Somebody has to pass the ball right? And as for the draft class I agree maybe two guys are players like Wentz & Goff & the rest are Mariota’s & Winston’s. Both none are worth a trade up of two #1 draft picks.

  34. It’s totally not a bad deal, but from the structure or the wording of the contract it certainly sounds like we will see the Nathan Peterman project quickly if he doesn’t fair well early. I’m just saying. …

  35. Chris Nigro says: And as for the draft class I agree maybe two guys are players like Wentz & Goff & the rest are Mariota’s & Winston’s. Both none are worth a trade up of two #1 draft picks.
    ———————————————————————————————-
    Actually, If the Bills do trade up to the 2nd or 3rd pick and if, as you say, they identify either the Goff or Wentz of this QB class, then you better look back at what the Rams and Eagles spent getting from their 15th and 13th draft positions, respectively. The Bill’s 2 1sts are the equivalent of the Rams and Eagles 1sts and 2nds. So please don’t say that a trade up isn’t worth their two 1st round picks.
    The Bills are going to try to move into the park so that they can try, after so many years, to hit one out of it.

  36. Can’t help but think if AJ was that good he would have already been starting somewhere. Still a good deal for the money.

  37. Sounds like 5MM for 1 year.
    If he plays well he gets paid more, but in that case I’d be happy to do pay the extra.

    McCarron will probably not be any good and the Bills will put in a different QB after the half way point.

  38. slick50kc says:

    March 14, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Wait till you see what Mahomes is gonna do.
    ———————
    Turnover machine!!!

  39. “and unlike Brady he wasn’t the reason his team got knocked out of the post season.”
    ______________

    Great point: The backup on teams missing the postseason are pretty safe from blame when it comes to the nonexistent playoff games the team was never in. But much harder to see how the guy who threw for 500 yards in the Super Bowl (and was the only reason the Pats were even in the game) somehow was to blame for that loss.

  40. Guy was drafted as a backup and only got into four games – hardly his fault. Cincy was never gonna bench Dalton unless McCarron REALLY outperformed him. QBs get drafted and get stuck behind longtime starters, or because of where they’re drafted the get labeled as backups and it’s hard for them to get a chance to start. Backups get few, if any, first team reps and then when they need to perform in a game everyone’s surprised when they’re not equal to the starter.

    Good luck to him – I won’t be surprised if the Bills are quick to pull him, though. He’s not costing a lot so McCarron had better do well because it doesn’t feel like the Bills are really committing to him – much like they did with Taylor. Which is too bad. I hope he gets a legitimate shot.

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