Buffalo Bills sign quarterback AJ McCarron to two-year deal

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills found their veteran quarterback Wednesday evening, agreeing to a two-year deal with former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron.

Despite free agency opening Wednesday at 4:00 pm, it seemed like the Bills were last to the party on finding their veteran quarterback for this season. However, the team agreed to terms with AJ McCarron to add another quarterback to their roster.

McCarron comes to the team after serving as Andy Dalton’s backup for the past four seasons in Cincinnati. He recently became a free agent after winning a grievance against the Bengals.

It wasn’t until his second season in the NFL until the former Alabama quarterback saw his first game action, and he was needed to step up in a big way for the team. After Dalton went down with an injury toward the end of the 2015 season, McCarron started the final three games and performed well.

He threw for 854 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions in seven games played. He also started the team’s playoff game against Pittsburgh where he threw for 212 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in the 18-16 loss.

In the two years since his audition for a starting role, the former fifth-round pick has played in four games. He will begin the season at age 27.

At Alabama, McCarron won three national championships under Nick Saban, which came in back-to-back seasons of 2012 and 2013. He also won the national championship game in 2010 and is one of the most successful QBs in program history.

How it impacts the Bills’ plans

For me, this means nothing about what the Bills will do in the draft. The fact that the team wasn’t throwing big money at Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater or any other veteran QB means to me that they aren’t looking for a true bridge quarterback. If they had signed any of the aforementioned players, they would be relied upon to start for a year or two while a rookie QB develops.

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I still 100 percent believe that Buffalo will trade up and take their next franchise quarterback.

What the signing of McCarron tells me is they plan on their rookie QB coming in and playing rather immediately. There is only one quarterback in this class I consider pro-ready and I think that is the Bills’ top target in the draft: Josh Rosen.

I recently wrote a piece dissecting why I think the Bills will take Rosen, and the signing of McCarron reaffirms that. McCarron isn’t like Bradford, Keenum, or even Josh McCown where he is a veteran who has played plenty in the NFL.

He is someone who has been in the league for a while but has not seen a ton of game action.

If the team wanted someone like Josh Allen – and there have been plenty of links to him in the last several days – I think they would have gone after a more experienced quarterback that they expected to start for the whole year and potentially part of next year while he developed.

Instead, they opted to sign a guy that can make a spot start and play effectively in limited action.

All-in-all, this move doesn’t change their plans at quarterback. They will still move up with their impressive amount of ammo and select their future quarterback, whoever that may be.

Next: Why the Bills will draft Josh Rosen

In the meantime, I like this signing. McCarron didn’t get what he thought he would on the open market, and the Bills were able to capitalize. It is a win-win for each side and a good move for the Bills.