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Bengals: We're Not Trading McCarron

Unfounded rumors can be put to rest in latest chapter of McCarron phenomenon.

Maybe now it can be put to rest all those crazy AJ McCarron trade rumors, which weren't really rumors as much as they were uninformed suggestions from people who don't have a thorough understanding of how the Bengals operate.

As we have been reporting this offseason at BengalsInsider.com, the Bengals in the near future aren't going to trade McCarron, the backup quarterback behind Andy Dalton. Which means, McCarron is not heading to Denver in a trade with the Broncos.

It's been speculated that the Bengals should and would be willing to trade McCarron to a quarterback-needy team that views him as an upgrade over what it has. But those suggestions aren't coming from those that follow the Bengals on a daily basis. Cincinnati believes that McCarron is too valuable as Dalton’s backup to trade away.

Call the craziness the McCarron Phenomenon, something that the quarterback brought with him from Alabama -- an affect that had many calling for him to overtake Dalton as the starter last offseason -- something that seemed like pure fantasy to those actually making Bengals decisions.

McCarron's original popularity in Cincinnati grew out of the fact that he wasn't Andy Dalton. McCarron has been a fascination of the anti-Dalton faction of fans that still exists today even after Dalton's shut-up 2015, pre-thumb injury. When Dalton solidified his starting status (which was never in doubt), it seemed to quell the start-McCarron uprising. Then Dalton got hurt, opening the door for Dalton naysayers. More fundamentally, it gave McCarron a chance to prove himself in the NFL while giving the Bengals an unexpected extended look at their backup QB. It wasn't ideal, but it was nice for the team from a purely evaluational standpoint.

McCarron, 25, wound up seeing his first NFL action in 2015 and finished the season under center as Dalton recovered from his thumb injury, suffered Week 14 against Pittsburgh. McCarron sat out all of his 2014 rookie season with his own set of injuries following a stellar national championship-winning career at Alabama.

McCarron played in seven Bengals games in 2015, starting three in December and one in the playoffs. He won two of his first four starts and kept Cincinnati competitive during Dalton's absence. McCarron threw for 864 yards, six touchdowns with just two interceptions while completing 66.3 percent of his passes for an overall rating of 97.1.

Not bad for a fifth-round draft pick. But not good enough to supplant Dalton. Realizing this at long last, folks who wished to continue reporting about McCarron, in part to capitalize on the popularity of his name, had no other reason to do so, unless they could successfully introduce the notion of trading him. This week, the pro-McCarron group and those who love reporting about him have been left with another obstacle after riding two months of unchecked momentum.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio at the NFL meetings in Florida that McCarron will not be traded this offseason, saying on Monday that the team would  "respectfully decline" any offers they received for McCarron. Lewis is probably wondering why the Bengals would be expected to entertain the notion in the first place when they have McCarron under contract at minimum base salaries for the next two seasons.

The Bengals official web site said the Super Bowl champion Broncos, in need of a starting quarterback, "haven’t called the Bengals about a trade for ... McCarron." PFT's Florio said Monday that coach Lewis told him in an interview taped for the live Tuesday program that the club has no desire to trade McCarron.

Asked if the Broncos have interest in McCarron, Broncos chief John Elway said, “No,” according to the Bengals' site, which suggested that "after 11 seasons of trying to find a young backup quarterback behind Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton that can come off the bench and play, the Bengals aren’t parting with him."


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