Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis wants to keep AJ McCarron in Cincinnati.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Lewis said the team would “respectfully decline” any trade offer made toward McCarron during today’s league meeting.
Marvin Lewis told me that if a team were to call with interest in trading for QB A.J. McCarron the Bengals would respectfully decline.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 21, 2016
Postseason action was a struggle, yet Cincinnati found a silver lining in the absence of starting quarterback Andy Dalton.
Dalton, who was having an MVP-caliber season, injured his thumb in the team’s Week 13 match-up against Pittsburgh.
McCarron stepped in and threw for 280 passing yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 33-20 loss.
He would start in the next four games, earning two victories over Baltimore and San Francisco. The former Alabama standout and three-time national champion accounted for 854 yards with six touchdowns to two interceptions in six games.
McCarron engineered a drive lasting seven plays for 45 yards in Cincinnati’s wildcard meeting against the Steelers on Jan. 9.
The possession ended on a 25-yard touchdown pass from McCarron to wide out A.J. Green, giving the Bengals an 16-15 lead. Its defense would allow Pittsburgh an opportunity to win the game on a field goal in the final seconds, but McCarron put Cincinnati in position to win.
Prior Lewis’ statement, many rumors started concerning possible trade options for McCarron. ESPN reporter Field Yates ranked him as the second-highest quarterback with trade value, per Kyle Phelps of SB Nation (Cincy Jungle).
Buccaneers’ backup Mike Glennon is listed at No. 1, while Colin Kaepernick, Brian Hoyer and Zach Mettenberger stand at Nos. 3, 4 and 5 respectively.
San Francisco, Denver and Cleveland are three franchises that need a starting quarterback. Cleveland, in particular, has a new head coach in Hue Jackson (McCarron’s offensive coordinator at Cincinnati). McCarron has two more years remaining on his rookie year, but for now he remains with the Bengals as Dalton’s backup.