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AJ McCarron can make up to $16.5 million over two years

AJ McCarron, who settled for a two-year deal with the Bills, can use this next season to prove he's a worthy NFL starter and then cash in in the coming years.

When the music stopped on Tuesday, AJ McCarron was doing the John-Travolta-in-Pulp-Fiction-look-around-the-room-and-wonder-what-the-hell-is-going-on thing. On Wednesday, McCarron opted to pounce on the only starting job that was still open.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, McCarron’s deal with the Bills has a base value of $10 million. He can make another $6.5 million based on playing time.

The signing bonus is $4 million, and he’ll earn a guaranteed base salary of $900,000 in 2018.

He has a $3 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2019 league year, along with a $1.9 million salary. Of that amount, $1.1 million is guaranteed for injury at signing. It becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2019 league year.

The incentive package pays $1 million is he takes 60 percent of the snaps this year, and another $1 million if he takes 75 percent of the snaps. If McCarron takes 75 percent of the snaps, his base for 2019 also escalates by $2.5 million.

He also can get $1 million for taking 60 percent of the snaps in 2019, and another $1 million for taking 75 percent of the snaps in 2019. If he takes 75 percent of the snaps in 2019 but fails to do so in 2018, he’ll get the $2.5 million escalator for 2019 as an incentive instead.

For a guy with no other current options that would have put him at the top of the depth chart, it’s not just the best deal he could have done. It’s the only deal. His only alternative would have been to wait for a starter on another team to implode or get injured.

This way, McCarron will get the full offseason to prepare as the starter, with the rookie the Bills inevitably draft most likely kept on ice, possibly for all of 2018.