Since Saturday afternoon, the following has been one of my most-asked questions on social media:
That question got a little added spice Monday afternoon when the player who had previously held the title of likely No. 3 quarterback in 2014,Josh Johnson, was released. It was largely expected when chatter about the Bengals looking to draft a quarterback became real several months ago. After realizing they were able to make their pick with McCarron's fifth-round selection, Johnson was gone.
The three-quarterback question is where we begin this Tuesday's Bengal Quick Takes.
1. Keeping three QBs? To answer that question, you've got to start by throwing out another: Why wouldn't the Bengals keep three quarterbacks on the roster this season? It only makes sense that they'll have a triplet at the position this season with Andy Dalton entering the final year of his rookie deal, veteran Jason Campbell around for a season to serve as a mentor and McCarron coming in as a rookie who will be expected to learn the offense right away. While he may not end up receiving a large financial windfall because of where he was drafted, McCarron still will command his share of attention between now and the end of training camp. It's the fact that they drafted him in the first place and the success that he exhibited in college that makes it pretty plain that he's not going anywhere anytime soon.
2. But why keep three? The Bengals brought McCarron in for a reason: They believe he can contribute if needed and learn. If he's part of the 53-man roster, he's able to learn not only how to be an NFL quarterback, but he's able to get a feel for opposing stadiums and crowds and at least getting the experience of being inside buildings that might be reminiscent of the intimidating road venues that he torched through while playing for Alabama in the SEC. As part of the main roster, McCarron would be forced to keep challenging for playing time. If he doesn't make the 53-man roster, he still will be part of the team, attending every meeting and practice session as the likely practice-squad quarterback. So, no, don't expect to see him get cut. Don't expect to see Campbell cut, either. He was brought on earlier this offseason for a reason: To give Dalton and the new draft pick a chance to actually have an in-room mentor. That's something Dalton hasn't really yet had. Campbell may have had his troubles winning in the playoffs, too, but he at least has been there. It will be helpful for the Bengals to have that added experience in the room as Dalton tries to uncover ways to get the Bengals past the first-round hump. They haven't yet won a game while he's been the starter. Oh, and they aren't cutting him, either. He's the starting quarterback for a reason, and the Bengals are deep in talks with him to ensure he remains their leader for years to come.
3. Updated contracts. As NFL teams start preparing for the start of OTAs and minicamps, their rosters are, by extension, getting larger. In the past when we've talked about contracts and the Bengals' salary cap here, it has all primarily been seen through the lens of the top 51 contracts on the team (technically in the Bengals' case, of late, it has been the top 59 because of free-agency additions). With expanded rosters coming as a result of the camps, ESPN Stats & Information late last week released contract numbers for the additional bottom-earning players. Ten additional Bengals were added. Rookies, whose deals are still being worked on, have not yet been added. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Onterio McCalebb, David King, Cobi Hamilton, T.J. Johnson, Quinn Sharp, Bruce Taylor and Brandon Joiner will be making base salaries of $420,000 this season. Chris Lewis-Harris, Zach Minter and Kevin Brock will make $495,000. Back in January when they signed future/reserve contracts, McCalebb, Hamilton, Johnson and Minter agreed to two-year deals that end in 2015.
4. NFL Nation TV. We're back at it this Tuesday afternoon with "NFL Nation TV," the new, interactive video chat that yours truly is helping host with ESPN Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez. This is the show's fifth straight week. It has been growing exponentially from the beginning. We'll be chatting some about the Bengals and the quarterback situation, and we'll be wrapping up the entire draft in this latest installment that begins right here on ESPN.com at 1 p.m. ET. Along with Paul and I this week will be Jets reporter Rich Cimini and Giants reporter Dan Graziano. Please join us.