What would it take for the Browns to pry A.J. McCarron from Bengals?

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What would it take for the Browns to pry A.J. McCarron from Bengals?

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Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones (82) and backup quarterback AJ McCarron (5) celebrate after the last play of their 31-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns Thursday, Nov. 5 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

One of several storylines for the Bengals this offseason involves what they will do with backup quarterback A.J. McCarron, who is set to become a restricted free agent after next season. 

I would vote for keeping him through the season as long as they consider themselves a Super Bowl contender because anyone who pays any attention to the league knows having a viable backup is more than just a nice luxury. 

The Bengals learned this first-hand two years ago when Andy Dalton was hurt late in the season, and it was again clear January when multiple teams had to start retreads or also-rans in playoff games.

Bengals owner Mike Brown may feel the same way as Peter King reported this week he does not want to trade McCarron.

But what if current Browns coach and former Bengals assistant Hue Jackson makes him an offer he can’t refuse?

But if Jackson is lukewarm on the top collegians, he likes McCarron a lot (he coached him as a Bengal rookie), and can fall back on him. He’ll just have to overpay, because Cincinnati owner Mike Brown does not want to trade him. The Browns have the 33rd, 51st and 65th picks to play with if McCarron’s their man.

That is more than I would have expected McCarron to bring back, so it must be given strong consideration if it comes to pass.

However, the Bengals are already flush with draft picks this year, so they may still feel the need to be as prepared as possible for a run this year, future be damned.

Also worth noting: There is precedent for Jackson overpaying for a quarterback from Cincinnati. He did just that when he sent a first and second-round pick to the Bengals for Carson Palmer when Jackson was coaching in Oakland in 2011.

Could lightning strike twice?

Stay tuned.

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