ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills quarterback AJ McCarron said Thursday his "ultimate goal" will be to earn the starting job this season, whether or not the Bills select a quarterback in April's draft.
"I thought it was just a great opportunity for myself to come up here and be able to compete for a starting job, and that's all you can ask for in this league," he said at an introductory news conference. "That was the main thing I was saying while I was in Cincinnati. It wasn't about the money, it wasn't about anything. My background, I come from absolutely nothing, so I've always just known ball. I just wanted a chance to compete and play and it felt like I had that opportunity here."
The Bills signed McCarron to a two-year deal Wednesday with a base value of $10 million. He can earn up to $16.5 million if he reaches playing-time incentives.
McCarron's signing came after several veteran quarterbacks had found new teams in free agency this week, leaving Buffalo as perhaps the only remaining team that could offer him a chance to start this season.
"It's always tough just because you're a competitor," McCarron said of waiting to sign. "But at the same time like I said, I think it goes to the thought that you just have to trust God's plan. You really do. It's easier said than done, but we prayed and we put the faith in Him and everything works out for a reason."
For now, McCarron joins 2017 fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman as the only quarterbacks on the Bills' roster after Tyrod Taylor was traded this week to the Cleveland Browns for a third-round pick in April's draft.
With two selections in each of the first three rounds, the Bills are expected to target a quarterback, potentially after trading up in the first round.
"I try not to waste any mental thought on it," McCarron said Thursday of the possibility the Bills draft another quarterback. "Because it's something I can't control and there's no reason for me to really put any thought into it. Just to be honest with you, just because it creates mental clutter for my process that I need to do day in and day out to be the best player that I need to be. So whatever they feel is best for the organization, I'm just going to come out and work my tail off for them and for this city. Just be the best player that I can."
That could mean eventually giving up his starting job to a drafted quarterback, although McCarron on Thursday said he hopes to change the perception that he is only a bridge to the younger player.
"I think you always help a younger guy along," he said. "I have never been the type to not do that. I think karma is a son of a gun and it can come back to bite you. If I am better than the other guy, then I just trust in my talents and go out and play my game. If it doesn't work out, then you learn to be a great teammate, be a part of the team."