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AJ McCarron Reportedly Files Grievance Against Bengals, Wants to Be 2018 UFA

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 31: AJ McCarron #5 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass in the first half of a preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Quarterback AJ McCarron has reportedly filed a grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals in hopes of becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2018.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, "McCarron's grievance dates to his rookie season in 2014, when the Bengals drafted him in the fifth round. McCarron initially passed his post-draft physical, but the Bengals placed him on the non-football injury list (NFI) at the start of training camp due to a shoulder issue."

But as Schefter noted, the Bengals didn't activate McCarron until Dec. 9, and he didn't accrue the six games necessary to receive a tolled year on his contract that would have contributed toward unrestricted free agency.

As a result, McCarron is scheduled to be a restricted free agent at season's end.

The news comes after the Bengals reportedly agreed to send McCarron to the Cleveland Browns at the trade deadline in exchange for a second-round pick and third-round pick.

However, the deal ultimately fell apart at the last minute.

According to Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns didn't submit their paperwork to complete the trade directly to the league office like the Bengals did. Instead, Cleveland reportedly "sent it to the Bengals at 3:54 p.m. to also sign and send to the league," and Cincinnati didn't see the email.

Furthermore, Kay Cabot reported that even if the Browns had followed proper protocol, the deal wouldn't have been approved by the league because the conditions by both sides didn't match.

According to Schefter, a ruling on McCarron's filing is expected "sometime this winter."

Should the arbitrator side with the Bengals, Schefter reported the team "likely would place a first-round tender on McCarron as a restricted free agent."

If McCarron comes out on top, he'll be free to pursue a big-money deal on the open market after spending the first three seasons of his career in Cincinnati.

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