1. He's got a championship pedigree. McCarron led Alabama to back-to-back NCAA championships in 2011 and 2012, making him the first quarterback to do so in the BCS era. He guided the Crimson Tide to a 36-4 record over his three seasons. He was named a first-team All-American as a senior in 2013, when he also won the Maxwell and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards. He was a fifth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014.
2. His playing time has been sparse. Serving as the backup to Andy Dalton the last four seasons, McCarron has appeared in just 11 regular-season games, with three starts. In those appearances, he's gone 86 of 133 for 920 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.
McCarron also started the Bengals' wild-card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015, going 23 of 41 for 212 yards, one touchdown and one interception. McCarron led Cincinnati back from a 15-0 deficit to take a 16-15 lead, but a fumble by running back Jeremy Hill gave the ball back to the Steelers, who were able to kick a go-ahead field goal.
3. He won a grievance to hit the open market. McCarron spent a long portion of his rookie season on the non-football injury list. The Bengals did not activate him from that list until Dec. 9 of his rookie year, which meant McCarron didn't have enough time to earn an accrued season (six regular-season games on the 53-man roster). McCarron argued that he was healthy and should have been activated before that, a position that an arbiter agreed with. As a result, McCarron got credit for an accrued season, which gives him four such years, the minimum required for a player to be an unrestricted free agent.
4. He was in high demand at the trade deadline. The Bengals had an agreement to trade McCarron to the Cleveland Browns at the NFL's trade deadline in exchange for second- and third-round draft picks, but a paperwork error meant the deal wasn't completed in time. The Browns were expected to be suitors for McCarron when free agency opened, but instead traded a third-round pick to the Bills for Tyrod Taylor.
5. He survived a scary childhood accident. When McCarron was 5 years old, he was involved in a serious crash while on a jet ski. McCarron's father, Tony, was driving when the wake from a passing boat caused him to lose control. AJ McCarron flew off, and hit his head on a pier. Doctors feared McCarron was going to be left in a vegetative state, but he made a full recovery months later.
"I'm a huge believer of the man above. He gave me a second chance at life. You never know why you get that, and my mom and dad and I promised each other we would live life to the fullest after that. Not many kids can say they've had a second opportunity at life," McCarron said.