McCarron to find out free agent fate next month

AJ McCarron is about six weeks away from a potentially easier exit.

The Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback said he will find out Feb. 15 the arbitration ruling on his grievance to become an unrestricted free agent.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” McCarron said. “Hopefully I get my chance.”

A player must have accrued four seasons to become an unrestricted free agent, but there is an unresolved issue over whether McCarron accrued a season as a rookie in 2014. He began that year on the reserve/non-football injury list with a shoulder injury and was only on the 53-man roster for three games and the playoff loss to Indianapolis.

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McCarron said he already presented his case last spring and is just waiting on a verdict. He would like to think he could still move on if he remains a restricted free agent, but wouldn’t count on it. A pursuant team would have to compensate the Bengals however they choose to tender him.

“It’s just hard,” he said of the wait. “As a competitor, you just see other guys playing and you want your chance to be able to showcase what you can truly do, and that’s just being a competitor. Like I’ve said before, God’s plan doesn’t work out when we want it to. It’s on His time. I’ve always truly believed that, and my wife always does an excellent job of reminding me that, and it’s just something you’ve got to buy into and trust and realize.”

On the Bengals’ exit day Monday, McCarron met with Marvin Lewis and discussed his future.

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When asked what he thinks his future holds, McCarron said that depends on what he finds out Feb. 15; however, has given up any hope of getting his opportunity to play with Cincinnati.

“Anytime you come into a place where a guy is established like A.D. (Andy Dalton), who’s led them to the playoffs however many times and they are paying him that much, it’s not going to happen,” McCarron said. “It’s just the way it goes. Like I said, I just want a chance to compete so I’m just waiting on that opportunity.”

Buffalo's hero: Andy Dalton is getting royal treatment from Buffalo after his incredible 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd lifted the Bengals to victory over Baltimore on Sunday.

The Ravens’ loss meant the Bills are headed to the playoffs instead. Dalton’s pass came on fourth-and-12 with 44 seconds left.

“I think I’m the hottest guy in Buffalo right now,” Dalton said Monday. “According to my Twitter, I think everybody’s loving us right now. Obviously that’s a crazy fan base and they’re all pretty excited.”

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Bills fans have been donating to Dalton’s foundation in $17 increments in honor of the 17 years they waited for a postseason appearance.

“We’re appreciative of that,” Dalton said. “Obviously they’re helping out a good cause. It’s been pretty fun to see the reaction we’ve gotten.”

Postseason awards: The Cincinnati chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America named defensive tackle Geno Atkins as the Bengals' 2017 Most Valuable Player and defensive end Carlos Dunlap as the recipient of the organization's annual "Good Guy" award.

Atkins, who also earned the MVP honor in 2012, finished the season with nine sacks, 10 tackles for losses and 20 quarterback hits. Dunlap, coming out of his eighth season, is the 17th recipient of the PFWA’s “Good Guy” award, given for professionalism and cooperation with media and understanding the media’s role in covering the team. He was recognized in part for his involvment in the local community, this season focusing on an anti-bullying initiative.

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“This is my community so I just want to take ownership and get involved,” Dunlap said.

Player moves: The Bengals on Monday signed nine players from the practice squad to reserve/future contracts. Included in that transaction were linebackers Carl Bradford, Connor Harris, kicker Jonathan Brown, offensive tackle Javarius Leamon, guard Oni Omoile, tight end Scott Orndoff, cornerback Sojourn Shelton, safety Robenson Therezie and wide receiver Kermit Whitfield.

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