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This was originally published in The Athletic....
Let's talk about AJ McCarron first, since the big Bengals news this week was, on the surface, about him. He did exactly what the Bengals drafted him to do — be Andy Dalton's backup and no more.
He served the Bengals well in this role, playing capably when he was called on at the end of the 2015 season and nearly helping Cincinnati break a drought of playoff futility that continues to haunt the franchise.
Since that sad, cold, wet January night in 2016, McCarron hasn't done much actual quarterbacking, attempting just 14 passes in a handful of mop-up appearances, but even as Dalton made every start over the past two seasons, there was something reassuring about knowing that if Andy had to be taken out, his understudy was more than reliable.
But as much as some fans will go out of their way to tell you that McCarron would be a better starting quarterback than Dalton...
To read my entire piece, go to The Athletic.