Duke Tobin: Bengals place high value on AJ McCarron

This year's quarterback market is driving the offseason intrigue.

Beyond belle of the ballTony Romo and forbidden fruitJimmy Garoppolo, Cincinnati backup AJ McCarron is expected to draw interest from QB-needy organizations.

Asked Wednesday about the feasibility of a McCarron trade, Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin quipped, "The phones in our office work."

That's not to say McCarron will come cheaply.

The Cincinnati Enquirer recently reported that the Bengalsplaced a first-round price tag on McCarron last season. After Tobin took the podium at the NFL Scouting Combine and repeatedly emphasized McCarron's value, it certainly doesn't appear the team is willing to lower that asking price.

"He plays a very valuable position: backup quarterback," Tobin explained. "And you're always one play away from going to your backup quarterback. We view our team as a team that can challenge. Whether that's universal or not, we view our team as a team that is in the mix to challenge.

"And if you don't have a viable No. 2 quarterback that you can go to and win with, you can tank your entire season. So he's a very valuable piece of what we do. If somebody wants to call and talk to us, call and talk to us. But they're going to find out that we value AJ McCarron quite a bit."

Operating from a luxurious position of quarterback strength, Tobin added that the Bengals are "actively not trying to diminish our football team."

Cincinnati's approach is similar to New England's. While it's tempting to stockpile future assets, the draft picks those organizations would receive as compensation in a hypothetical trade must bring more value than their premium quarterback insurance.

In other words, any franchise desperate to get its hands on McCarron or Garoppolo better be prepared to blow the Bengals or Patriots away with a godfather offer.

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