After AJ McCarron led the Bills to a “legendary” comeback win over the Bears’ backups in the final preseason game on Thursday night, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said McCarron was “absolutely” still in contention for the No. 1 quarterback job.
Sure, and I’m in contention for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Bills made their feelings about McCarron known today by trading him to the Raiders for a fifth-round draft choice. I hardly believe competitive souls like McDermott and GM Brandon Beane would send away a possible NFL starter for a fifth-round pick.
Of course, maybe they were desperate to build up some desperately needed draft capital after realizing they gave away a seventh-rounder to the Browns for the privilege of having Corey Coleman go through the motions at wide receiver for a few weeks.
McCarron was no better than the third quarterback by cutdown day. His heroics in the fourth quarter in Chicago might have convinced Jon Gruden to make the deal. But Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen were the clear No. 1 and No. 2 guys on the Bills’ depth chart heading into the opener at Baltimore, presumably in that order.
That left the Bills in a predicament. How do they keep McCarron around as the No. 3 and make him inactive on game day after giving him a two-year, $10 million contract to give them a “proven” veteran to vie for the No. 1 job? That’s good backup money, but some felt it was a bargain for a guy who figured to become the starter until a new franchise guy (Allen, as it turns out) was ready to be the guy.
The thing is, Peterman had the best preseason of all three, and Allen played well enough to establish himself as no worse than the primary backup. This can’t have been a total surprise, since we know McDermott loves Peterman and felt he was ready to lead the team LAST year before he flamed out at the Chargers.
So they could have waited, assumed Peterman and their rookie would be the top two, and gone after a marginal No. 3 later — which is what they’re going to do now. People say that would have been a risk (and that I would have killed them for it at the time). But the Bills aren’t going anywhere this year, so if you ask me the McCarron thing was a big waste of time.
At least they got a fifth for him. Maybe that was the strategy all along!