McCarron not the answer
Now that Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron has gained unrestricted free-agent status, we are about to find out just how much clout Hue Jackson has in Berea.
The Browns’ head coach all but frothed unashamedly when his front office and the Bengals agreed on a deal that would have brought the fourth-year quarterback to Cleveland for a pair of high-round draft choices at the trade deadline last season.
Jackson campaigned hard for McCarron midway through last season’s winless journey through the schedule. He had coached Andy Dalton’s backup for a couple of seasons as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator and wanted him in Cleveland.
Not certain what Jackson saw in McCarron that made him push so hard to obtain him. He hadn’t been able to beat out Dalton for the starting job and was destined to be a career backup with an average arm.
DeShone Kizer was a disaster in his rookie season for the Browns and Jackson apparently wanted to right the ship. He needed to save the season and McCarron, a fifth-round pick by the Bengals in the 2014 lottery, was his only hope.
But the trade-deadline deal fell through due to an e-mail glitch at the deadline. Sometimes, it has been said, the best deals you make are the ones you don’t make. This one qualified as one.
When McCarron secured his unrestricted free-agent status the other day, fans and observers alike naturally thought Cleveland would be his next professional football stop.
Only one problem. His new status means 31 other National Football League teams also have a shot at signing him once free-agent season opens up in a few weeks. Most the teams in the market don’t need an AJ McCarron, of course, but some might and that’s when it will become interesting.
So how does Jackson and his fading clout fit into this picture and how much of a factor will he be if the Browns make a run at McCarron? Or will they?
Now that John Dorsey is running the show, he will make the big decisions. He’s the one who will decide which direction the Browns will head when it comes to the quarterback situation.
When Sashi Brown called the shots for the Browns, Jackson’s words and thoughts with regard to the quarterback situation carried some weight. After all, Brown’s football acumen barely filled a thimble.
Look for Jackson to renew his efforts to bring McCarron to the northern part of Ohio. The only difference this time is the person he will lobby this time knows a tad more about the NFL than his predecessor.
Dorsey is not looking for a young, untried veteran like McCarron. He is looking for that veteran quarterback on the downside of his career who can be a mentor to whomever the new general manager selects in the college draft.
McCarron, who will be 28 in September, is an NFL infant by comparison. He has started only four games (three regular season and one playoff) in four seasons. Why the Browns would even consider him is a mystery.
McCarron replaced Dalton, who broke the thumb on his throwing hand in game 13 of the 2015 season, Jackson’s last season as offensive coordinator, and completed two-thirds of his passes with six touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
He doesn’t seem to fit the mold Dorsey envisions. The guess here is the Browns at least monitor the interest in McCarron around the league before making a decision. Gauge how much value he has.
Count on Jackson sticking his nose in there one more time, though, and making yet another pitch for McCarron. This time, it should fall on deaf ears.