By keeping him on the NFI list for the maximum duration they're allowed to before placing him on the active roster, the Bengals not only prevented McCarron from counting 2014 as an accrued season towards free agency, but they were also able to pay him less.
McCarron, 27, filed the grievance in November, arguing that the Bengals should have activated him from the NFI list during training camp in 2014, his rookie season. The Broncos had previously been linked to Kirk Cousins, another talented quarterback who has 57 starts compared to just three for McCarron.
On a career-high 131 drop backs in 2015, McCarron posted 0.14 Passing Net Expected Points per drop back, the 12th-best mark among the 46 quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs that year. He has not started a game since.
For the teams picking near the top of the draft who don't need a new quarterback, this could mean one less prospect at another position could be off the board by the time they go on the clock.
Slain football coach described as "hero" in deadly Florida shooting
Kelsey Friend was one of a group of students who were in the hallway trying to get into a classroom for protection. A 35-year-old geography teacher was killed after he helped students enter a locked classroom to avoid the gunman.
The Bengals and Browns had agreed to a midseason trade that would have sent McCarron to Cleveland, but the deal fell through because the Browns reportedly failed to complete the paperwork for the deal before the league's deadline arrived.
McCarron provides an interesting resume as a longtime qualified backup to Andy Dalton.
The Bengals have Jeff Driskel as a backup to Dalton. However, Cousins insists he wants to play for a contender, making it possible he would show flexibility with his cap number in the first two years of the contract. The tender amounts for 2018 have not been yet, but in 2017, a first-round tender was $3.91 million, a second-round tender was $2.746 million and an original-round tender was $1.797 million. Smith had been the starting QB for the Jets in 2013 and 2014, but he played in only three games over the next two seasons.
McCarron appeared in 11 games for the Bengals during his four seasons.