The Falcons had the opportunity to draft one of the five first-round-rated quarterbacks with the fourth pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday night. Atlanta instead chose Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.
The former Alabama All-American becomes the second quarterback on the Falcons’ offseason roster, joining Matt Ryan, who has been Atlanta’s starter for the previous 13 seasons.
McCarron became an unrestricted free agent on March 17, when his one-year, $4 million contract with the Houston Texans expired. Monetary terms of the contract with the Falcons have not been disclosed.
In his seventh NFL season, McCarron served as Deshawn Watson’s backup in Houston for the second straight campaign in 2020. McCarron got on the field for one offensive snap and one special-teams play. On the latter, he completed a 20-yard pass with the Texans in punt formation.
McCarron earned All-State honors in football and baseball at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile and helped the Saints win the AHSAA Class 5A football championship in 2007.
McCarron was the starting quarterback for the Alabama teams that won the BCS national championships for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
With the Crimson Tide, McCarron became the school’s all-time passing leader, won the Maxwell Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting for the 2013 season.
McCarron entered the NFL as a fifth-round selection in the 2014 draft and spent four seasons as a backup to Andy Dalton with the Cincinnati Bengals.
When Dalton suffered a broken thumb in 2015, McCarron started the final three games of the regular season and a postseason game, nearly leading the Bengals to their first playoff victory in 25 years before the Pittsburgh Steelers rallied in the waning moments for an 18-16 win.
McCarron joined the Buffalo Bills as a free agent in 2018. He competed with Nathan Peterman, Buffalo’s backup in 2017, and Josh Allen, the seventh player picked in that year’s draft, to become Buffalo’s starting quarterback.
Buffalo picked Peterman to be its starter (a decision that lasted one game). As NFL teams reduced their 90-player preseason rosters to the regular-season limit of 53 on Sept. 1, 2018, Buffalo traded McCarron to the Oakland Raiders for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
McCarron served as Derek Carr’s backup with the Raiders during the 2018 season.
On March 14, 2019, the Raiders released the quarterback with a season left on his contract. Had McCarron been on the Raiders’ roster the next day, he would have been due a $1.9 million bonus and $1.1 million of his $3 million salary for the 2019 season would have become guaranteed.
Five days later, McCarron signed a one-year, $3 million contract to join the Texans for the 2019 season.
During his NFL career, McCarron has completed 109-of-174 passes for 1,173 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions in 17 regular-season games.