Raiders trade for QB AJ McCarron from Bills

It might not make up for trading Khalil Mack away, but the Oakland Raiders did add quarterback AJ McCarron in a trade just before rosters had to be cut down to 53.

The Buffalo Bills sent McCarron to the Raiders on Saturday afternoon, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Oakland traded a fifth-round pick to Buffalo. The Raiders didn’t get very good play from their backup quarterbacks in preseason, and adding McCarron should help.

Quarterback AJ McCarron (10) was traded from the Buffalo Bills to the Oakland Raiders. (AP)
Quarterback AJ McCarron (10) was traded from the Buffalo Bills to the Oakland Raiders. (AP)

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The Bills signed McCarron in the offseason, and it looked for a while like he might be their Week 1 starter, but that didn’t happen.

AJ McCarron struggled for most of the preseason finale

McCarron’s fourth quarter on Thursday night might have saved his trade value.

McCarron had 39 yards passing through three quarters in the preseason finale. His passer rating at one point dipped to 0.0. He looked bad. McCarron was given the entire preseason finale by the Bills once it was clear they’d choose between rookie Josh Allen and Nathan Peterman to start Week 1 of the regular season.

McCarron did rally in the fourth quarter, leading four scoring drives in a comeback win. The Raiders must have turned that game on late, because they were interested in trading for McCarron.

McCarron had a rough August

McCarron had an odd month. He entered training camp looking like the Bills’ Week 1 starter at quarterback, and perhaps he’d hold that job until Allen was ready. McCarron struggled in the second preseason game, hurt his shoulder — at least it wasn’t a hairline fracture in his collarbone, as was first reported — and then the Bills moved him down the depth chart.

McCarron was signed to a two-year, $10 million deal in the offseason. He was looking for a chance to be a starter after backing up Andy Dalton with the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Bills offered that chance. He just couldn’t secure the job in August.

Raiders needed a backup QB

In each of the last two seasons, Derek Carr has missed some time due to injuries. He’s not fragile, but the Raiders couldn’t have felt very good about their backup quarterback situation.

Connor Cook really struggled in the preseason. EJ Manuel played OK, but he’s a known commodity at this point. McCarron didn’t fare too well over the preseason either, but he was a fairly interesting free agent earlier this year. He was interesting enough the Bills gave him $10 million.

Now McCarron gets a fresh start, although not a chance to start. The Raiders have a new backup. And the Bills can move on with Peterman and Allen.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!