We already know that Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson has a love for Bengals QB A.J. McCarron, considering how much he pushed to acquire the quarterback at the trade deadline last year. At the time, it sounded like Cleveland might have had to give up a second- and third-round pick. What about this offseason?
McCarron was originally set to be a restricted free agent instead of an unrestricted free agent. That means Cincinnati could slap a second-round tender on him, and still force Cleveland to trade a second-round pick (or something else negotiated) if the team still wanted to acquire McCarron as a stop-gap. However, McCarron has a pending grievance from his rookie season from when he was placed on the non-football injury list. If he wins the grievance, he can be an unrestricted free agent on March 14, meaning the Browns wouldn’t have to trade anything to the Bengals to sign him.
According to Pro Football Talk, a ruling on that grievance “is expected to be ruled on by an arbitrator this Wednesday.” The ruling could influence what new GM John Dorsey does for his veteran quarterback — signing McCarron is one thing, but giving up draft picks for him is another.