The Buffalo Bills took the first step in restocking their quarterback position by agreeing to a two-year contract with A.J. McCarron.
The 27-year-old spent the past four seasons backing up Andy Dalton in Cincinnati after being selected by the Bengals in the fifth round of the 2014 draft.
McCarron's signing on Wednesday came a few hours after the NFL's free-agency period opened Deshaun Watson Jersey , and five days after Buffalo traded three-year starter Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland. The trade left 2017 fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman as the only quarterback on Buffalo's roster.
General manager Brandon Beane said he intended to add a veteran quarterback this offseason to provide experience.
With two picks in each of the first three rounds of the draft, Buffalo also is expected to target one of the highly touted quarterback prospects.
McCarron was a two-time national champion at Alabama but appeared in just 11 games in Cincinnati, mostly in mop-up duties. McCarron did start the final three games of the 2015 season and led the Bengals to the playoffs after Dalton broke his thumb.
Against Pittsburgh in the wild-card playoff game, McCarron had the Bengals in position to win their first playoff game since the 1990 season. Jeremy Hill however lost a fumble, and penalties on Vontaze Burfict and Adam "Pacman" Jones set up the Steelers for a winning field goal in the final seconds.
Though he missed his rookie season because of a sore passing shoulder Jonathan Bullard Jersey , McCarron was allowed to become an unrestricted free agent after an independent arbitrator ruling last month. McCarron was also nearly traded to Cleveland last season, but the deal fell through after the Browns failed to submit the paperwork on time.
After struggling with a knee injury late last season, Devonta Freeman says he is on track to returning to the form that made him the NFL's highest-paid running back.
Freeman missed two games for the Atlanta Falcons last season following his second concussion in four months. Then a sprained right knee cut into his production in the last few games of 2017. The injury helped to keep him from his third straight season with 1,000 yards rushing. It also helped to stop the Falcons' bid for a return trip to the Super Bowl.
No offseason surgery was necessary, and Freeman said Wednesday his knee is feeling better.
"I'm able to do a lot of things I couldn't do back in January and February Justin Blackmon Jersey , running, cutting, sprinting, getting a little stronger," Freeman said.
Freeman said he's "making harder cuts" and "sprinting a little faster" in his offseason workouts .
He said he wants to be "100 percent healthy" for the team's minicamp in June and training camp in July.
"Be able to be ready for game one Star Lotulelei Jersey ," he said.
Two straight Pro Bowl seasons earned Freeman a five-year, $41.25 million extension before the 2017 season. It was the top overall salary package for any NFL running back. Only Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell has a higher average salary.
Health problems quickly followed Freeman's big new deal.
He spent the last two weeks of the preseason in concussion protocol before suffering another concussion on the second play of Atlanta's 27-7 win over Dallas on Nov. 12. He missed the next two games but returned with three strong games, including a season-high 126 yards rushing at Tampa Bay on Dec. 18.
The knee injury helped to limit Freeman's production the rest of the season. He was held to a combined 59 yards rushing in the final two regular-season games and then managed only seven yards on 10 carries in a playoff loss to Philadelphia.
Following the season, Freeman said he feared he would need surgery on the right knee. No surgery was needed, so he has focused on rebuilding strength through his offseason program.
Freeman's health will be a key for Atlanta's offense Ryan Kelly Jersey , which led the league in scoring in 2016 before falling to mid-pack in the league last year. The Falcons will be closely watching Freeman's health, as top backup Tevin Coleman is entering the final year of his contract.
The Falcons selected running back Ito Smith from Southern Mississippi in the fourth round of last week's NFL draft. Smith is expected to replace Terron Ward as the team's third running back, behind Freeman and Coleman.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff said Smith was not drafted to be a safety net if the team can't re-sign Coleman.
"That's not what we're looking back," Dimitroff said Saturday. "We're looking at him being a nice addition in that third position."
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