A.J. McCarron the Broncos’ top backup option to Kirk Cousins?


Could Cincinnati Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron be the top backup option to Kirk Cousins on the free agent market? We explore the idea…

The Denver Broncos are primed to make a significant run at free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, but there have to be contingency plans.

Cousins will have a variety of options in free agency and we all need to come to grips with the fact that he may choose another option, even if the Broncos have a very good situation and could win a lot of games with Cousins under center.

With the recent news of A.J. McCarron reaching unrestricted free agency, the market has changed quite a bit.

Before, it seemed like the Broncos would have to go with either Kirk Cousins or the fifth overall pick in the draft as their quarterback of the future. The options, it seems, have expanded.

According to Mike Klis, it really sounds like the Broncos may prefer McCarron to any other option besides Cousins in free agency.

Drew Brees, though still not re-signed by the Saints, is not a likely option. Case Keenum is older than McCarron, and undoubtedly more expensive.

The other free agent options don’t offer much upside going forward, though if healthy, players like Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater intrigue me.

There were rumors that the Broncos tried trading for McCarron before the start of the 2017 season, which John Elway shot down as ‘fake news’ but perhaps Denver’s interest is there now that he’s a free agent.

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If you’ve read any of my previous articles in regards to McCarron, you know that I’m not completely opposed to him as an option for the Broncos. I think McCarron is cheap enough that he would allow the Broncos to keep their options open in the draft, though perhaps he would prevent them from taking a quarterback with the fifth overall pick.

It seems like the Broncos are leaning more and more toward that option, being able to fill the need of quarterback in free agency and fill another top need via that top five overall pick.

It makes sense, because free agency isn’t overly deep or strong at positions the Broncos have significant needs at this year outside of quarterback.

So, if McCarron becomes the option, the Broncos have even more flexibility though they would also have more uncertainty at quarterback. He’s started three games in his NFL career, so spending $18-20 million per season on him is a huge risk, similar to the one the Texans took on Brock Osweiler or the Bears took on Mike Glennon.

The Broncos would have to have a lot of faith that their supporting cast and coaching staff could make things work with McCarron, but for the price and with his age and upside, it’s an option I’m not completely opposed to if Cousins chooses to play elsewhere.