Bengals could carry three QBs again in 2017

CINCINNATI -- Now that the Cincinnati Bengals are two weeks into free agency, they have a more accurate picture of how the roster will look heading into the 2017 draft.

We're taking a look at each position, how it changed in free agency and where it stands now.

Previous entries: Specialists, Tight Ends, Running Backs


Current roster: Andy Dalton, AJ McCarron, Jeff Driskel

Departures: None

State of the position: McCarron's name has come up repeatedly as a possible trade candidate over the past two seasons. At the end of the season, McCarron essentially said his goodbyes, expressing his appreciation for Cincinnati in the event a trade did occur.

But with the bulk of free agency already over, McCarron remains in a Bengals uniform. Technically, he has one year left on his rookie contract, but the Bengals could potentially hold his rights for up to two years if its determined that he did not spend enough time on the active roster as a rookie to accrue a year toward free agency.

Though the quarterback market has been picked over, it's still possible the Bengals could deal McCarron during the draft. They prepared for that scenario by adding Driskel to the team this season and keeping all three quarterbacks on the active roster.

However, the Bengals have also said multiple times that they would be just fine keeping McCarron around for the duration of his contract. McCarron took over after Dalton was injured during the 2015 season and proved himself a capable backup. The Bengals would have to be very comfortable with Driskel, or look for a veteran to back Dalton up, before they ship McCarron elsewhere.

They've also implied it would take a substantial offer from another team to part ways. As it gets closer to OTAs, it seems more and more likely that McCarron isn't going anywhere for a while.

"The phones in our office work. They always work. I’ve got an interest in listening to any of you that want to talk," Bengals player personnel director Duke Tobin said at the NFL combine. "The larger point on AJ McCarron for us is he’s a very valuable piece of what we do. It’s not a point where we’re saying, 'What do we do with this guy? We don’t have a plan for him.' There is a plan in place for us. He plays a very valuable position and you’re always one play away from going to your backup quarterback. We view our team as a team that can challenge ...

"If you don’t have a viable No. 2 quarterback that you can go to and win with, you can tank your entire season. He’s a very valuable piece of what we do. If somebody wants to call and talk to us, call and talk to us. But they’re going to find out we value AJ McCarron quite a bit."