SI’s King could see free agent QB A.J. McCarron landing with Cardinals

Feb 19, 2018, 11:27 AM | Updated: 11:55 am
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron stands on the sidelines in the second half of an NFL foo...
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron stands on the sidelines in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
(AP Photo/Frank Victores)

The quarterback-rich draft and free agent market has made the NFL’s carousel of signal-callers a topic of intrigue this offseason.

In the heart of that discussion are the Arizona Cardinals, who are looking not only for the replacement to starter Carson Palmer but a complete rebuild of the quarterback room under first-year coach Steve Wilks.

Predicting the domino effect across the NFL that begins with likely free agent Kirk Cousins isn’t easy. But Sports Illustrated’s Peter King is giving it a try, knowing full well he will probably be wrong.

King believes Arizona lands the latest quarterback on the market, former Cincinnati Bengals backup A.J. McCarron, who recently won a grievance filed against the Bengals to reach free agency.

McCarron hasn’t seen a lot of action in his four-year career, but he did complete 79 of 119 attempts with six touchdowns to two interceptions in 2015. Last year, the Bengals and Browns agreed upon a trade sending McCarron to Cleveland, but it wasn’t filed in time to beat the trade deadline.

That, and the fact that McCarron worked under former Bengals offensive coordinator and current Browns head coach Hue Jackson, leads many to believe McCarron will still land in Cleveland.

King, however, doesn’t see it.

This would, of course, break Hue Jackson’s heart. But I just think the alternatives for McCarron are these: Go to Cleveland, and risk the Browns drafting a quarterback high in the first round, and risk being in the same place he was in Cincinnati, behind Andy Dalton, for the next three or four years … or go to Arizona (or another spot that won’t draft a passer high) and be handed the starting job on a team with a playoff defense. Not a very tough choice in my mind.

King has the Browns signing former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford and drafting USC’s Sam Darnold, but he also mentioned that Bradford landing in the desert instead wouldn’t be a surprise.

And, by the way, King lists Arizona second on his list that’s in order of teams most in need of a quarterback. He has the Cardinals behind the Denver Broncos, who he believes could be the likely frontrunners in the Cousins sweepstakes.

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray (1) participates during the team's NFL football practice, Wednesday...
Nikash Nath

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray among top 5 QBs in multiple PFF passing metrics

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray's accuracy was on point in 2021, especially when looking at deep throws.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons #9 during the NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals an...
Nikash Nath

PFF’s Renner: Cardinals’ Isaiah Simmons a breakout candidate in Year 3

Cardinals' inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons was named a potential year three breakout candidate by PFF's Michael Renner.
2 days ago
Rodney Hudson #61 of the Arizona Cardinals in the huddle during the game against the Tennessee Tita...
Wills Rice

Former Cardinals C A.Q. Shipley thinks offense needs to find identity

"For (Kyler) the next step is just grabbing everyone around him, whether he just needs one play and everyone will look to him," Shipley said.
3 days ago
General Manager Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals looks on prior to the game against the Baltimor...
Tyler Drake

Important NFL dates to remember and how they impact Arizona Cardinals

A look at the important league dates to circle on your calendar and how they relate to the Arizona Cardinals' roster decisions.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury takes notes as he watches players taking part in drill...
Tyler Drake

Looming questions for the Arizona Cardinals ahead of training camp

There are quite a few questions marks surrounding the Arizona Cardinals ahead of training camp this offseason.
3 days ago
(Twitter photo/New England Patriots)...
Wills Rice

New England Patriots bring back red uniforms in Back to the Future spoof

The New England Patriots announced the team is bringing back their old-school red uniform and helmet combo for the 2022 season.
4 days ago
SI’s King could see free agent QB A.J. McCarron landing with Cardinals