XFL MVP favorite AJ McCarron could be ready for NFL return: Four possible 2023 landing spots

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By Webdesk

The 2023 NFL Draft will soon give all 32 teams the chance to add to their respective quarterbacks rooms. Four — maybe even five — Signal callers would only be able to go on day 1. But there may be another opportunity to add QB league this spring and summer: the XFL.

The latest iteration of the XFL wraps up on May 13, just before NFL teams begin organized team activities. And there is one signaller in particular who has argued for a promotion to the big league. That would be AJ McCarron, fresh off a performance of six touchdowns for the St. Louis Battlehawks, giving him an XFL-record 24 touchdowns on the season.

A front-runner for the XFL’s 2023 MVP award, McCarron is no stranger to the NFL, where he spent the first eight years of his pro career. At 32, he wouldn’t be the only recent XFL star to deserve an NFL reunion, either. Current Bears backup PJ Walker spent three years on the Colts’ practice team after not being drafted, but in 2020, playing for the XFL’s previous rendition, he turned a hot stretch with the Houston Roughnecks into a three-year stint with the Panthers.

So which teams might be interested in McCarron, who is best known for a four-year run with the Bengals? Here are four potential suitors:

As long as Ryan Tannehill is in town, it’s probably a long shot for McCarron to land in Tennessee. But as the Titans have not committed to pricey Tannehill staying on the roster, this club could soon use a veteran veteran to pair with 2021 third-rounder Malik Willis, as well as a potential early investment this year. Titans passing game coordinator Charles London also has a brief history with McCarron, serving as the Falcons’ QBs coach when the vet signed with Atlanta in 2021.

The Giants have expressed their confidence in Tyrod Taylor as backup to Daniel Jones, but they could use a third arm. A development option may be preferable, but McCarron is familiar with some key people in the organization: general manager Joe Schoen was the Bills’ assistant GM when Buffalo signed him to a sizable deal as a potential starter in 2018, and head coach Brian Daboll was at the time the Bills offensive coordinator.

Easton Stick is poised to take over backup QB duties with Chase Daniel leaving via free agency, leaving a man with one career pass the only confirmed insurance behind Justin Herbert. Even if LA drafts a No. 3, McCarron can provide valuable experience during the preseason. The Chargers’ QBs coach Doug Nussmeier also worked with him at Alabama, where he served as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator and QBs coach from 2012-2013.

1. Bengal

Yes really. McCarron left Cincinnati relatively unceremoniously, filing a complaint to secure his freedom from the team after an injury-related dispute, but he’s held the franchise in high esteem only since then. More importantly, he spent most of his active NFL career in stripes, and the buyers who drafted him – hiring managers Duke Tobin and Katie Blackburn – remain in place. Better yet, stud starter Joe Burrow has only vet Jake Browning, who has never made an NFL snap, behind him on the depth chart.

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