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Broncos may make a run at A.J. McCarron, if he’s an unrestricted free agent

A ruling on A.J. McCarron's free agency is expected next week and could present the Bengals with a decision on who they want at quarterback.

Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron will learn as soon as today whether he’ll be a restricted free agent or an unrestricted free agent in March. If it’s the latter, he could have a suitor in Colorado.

Appearing on Wednesday’s PFT Live, Vic Lombardi of Altitude Sports Network said that the Broncos would be interested in McCarron, if McCarron becomes a free-and-clear free agent. (The NFL contends that McCarron’s rookie season on the non-football injury list keeps him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.)

The Broncos know what McCarron can do. Replacing injured starter Andy Dalton in December 2015, McCarron forced overtime during a pivotal Monday night game that ultimately paved the way for Denver to claim the No. 1 seed. If Cincinnati had won that game, the Broncos likely wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl.

McCarron also did everything in his power to help the Bengals end their lengthy postseason drought two weeks later, in a wild-card game against the Steelers. It was the defense that blew it for the Bengals, not McCarron.

With 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo getting $27.5 million per year based on seven largely meaningless career regular-season starts, what would McCarron be worth on the open market with three meaningless regular-season starts and one prime-time playoff game? Everyone may soon be finding out, and it could be the Broncos who end up being the ones who pay McCarron.