Alabama Football: Will A.J. McCarron be the starter for Buffalo?


Former Alabama football QB, A.J. McCarron has a new team, but how good is his chance to become the starter for the Buffalo Bills?

A.J. McCarron’s transition from Alabama football to the NFL was always going to require patience. McCarron went to the Cincinnati Bengals as Andy Dalton’s backup. He saw no regular season action in 2014, followed by eight games in 2015, including four starts. He threw 119 passes in that 2015 season. Since then, in very limited game action, he has thrown only 14 passes.

A guy who led the Alabama football team to two national championships and finished second in the Heisman voting has needed a lot of patience. The pay is pretty good for clipboard-holders in the NFL but the waiting and watching can be torture.

A.J. McCarron joins a Buffalo Bills team that does not have a starting quarterback for 2018. The Bills traded Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland. The other QB on the roster is Nathan Peterman who has little chance of starting in 2018. Peterman played a little in his rookie season and actually got a start. It did not go well. He set an NFL first-game record with five first-half interceptions.

Beating out Peterman will not entrench A.J. as the Bills starter. Buffalo has first-round draft picks at No. 12 and No. 22. Draft experts suggest they are looking for trade options to move higher than No. 12. If they make another move into the top 10 draft slots, a franchise QB might be available.

2018 QB Draft Options for the Bills

Will Brinson of reported,

"Buffalo in particular is going to be VERY interesting. It’s been widely expected they will try to move up into the top five to chase a quarterback"

To move into the top five, the Bills would probably have to trade their No. 12, No. 22 and No. 65 picks. Brinson thinks that could get them as high as No. 3 in the Draft. At No. 3 they could take whoever is left among Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield.

If the Bills don’t move up, Mayfield might be available at No. 12 but the other three should go earlier. If all four are gone before No. 12, Lamar Jackson is the next best option. Few NFL scouts believe Jackson is ready to be a rookie NFL starter.

The best situation for A.J. would be for the Bills to choose Jackson or Mason Rudolph. Neither would be likely to earn a starting role in 2018. Even if the Bills do move up and take a bigger QB name, McCarron has a good chance to be the week one starter. That’s a big improvement over being a clipboard holder for the Bengals or as was rumored, for the Patriots.

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McCarron did not get a bonanza contract but his agent got him a pretty good deal. He will earn $5 million dollars for each of two years, with $6.8 million guaranteed. He is also eligible for up to $6.5 million in playing bonuses. The contract numbers are provided by