It should be a fairly safe assumption that Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is on his way out the door in the relatively near future. Even if he does end up sticking for one more year in Cincinnati, he is going to be an unrestricted free agent in 2021 after his current contract expires, and the Bengals are expected to use the first-overall pick on securing their new franchise quarterback.
Many have assumed that Dalton would be traded, which is certainly well within the realm of possibility, and would maximize the potential return on investment they could expect to see for him, but in this offseason, anything could happen. If Joe Burrow doesn’t have an offseason, how can he be expected to start, for example? And they’re not hurting for cap space.
Said Dalton about his future, and his relationship with the Bengals, “I truly believe they want what’s best for me, but I understand it’s a business, and you know how that goes. With the first pick, if they take a quarterback like everyone expects, that could trigger something. There’s even a scenario where I go back there”.
‘Back there’ would be back to Cincinnati, either to serve as the starter for one more year as Burrow gets up to speed or to act as a mentor and insurance policy. From the sounds of it, though, Dalton seems to be leaning toward the side of believing that he will be traded (or possibly even released).
Dalton was originally selected in the second round by the Bengals in 2011, a round after they had taken A.J. Green at wide receiver. They would make the playoffs for each of their first five seasons together, winning the AFC North twice in that span, though they would never win a playoff game.
Cincinnati has posted losing records and missed the playoffs for four straight seasons now, however, and the team finally parted with long-time head coach Marvin Lewis after the 2018 season. New head coach Zac Taylor briefly benched Dalton last season in favor of rookie mid-round pick Ryan Finlay until it became obvious that that was not a good idea.
“It wasn’t the ideal situation — being benched in the middle of the year, and then being brought back in”, Dalton said. “I didn’t agree with it, obviously, and I voiced that. But it was one of those things where I said to myself, ‘if it does come back to me, I’m gonna try to make the most of it’”.
I don’t know what making the most of a benching would entail exactly. Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine that his career as a starter is over. At 32 years old, he still has plenty of football left in him, and there are always quarterback-needy teams. After all, the Baltimore Ravens were able to find a suitor for Joe Flacco last year. He was traded to the Denver Broncos and started. Denver is also considered an option to trade for Dalton this year.