On a personal note, I spent most of last Monday yelling at my radio and television as various NFL savants beguiled audiences with the various woes and wherewithal of the Cincinnati Bengals concerning long-term extension for Andy Dalton. The lack of positive perspective was troubling. According to the greater ESPN pundacracy, no sane reason could be found for awarding Dalton a six-year, $115M contract. As if the whole affair could be explained simply as another mistake in Cincinnati’s dubious history of financial gaffes and game day blunders, it is frustrating to that the media does not give the situation the benefit of the doubt. In the past decade only six teams gone to the post season in three consecutive years: Indianapolis (with Peyton Manning), Baltimore, New England, San Diego, Denver (again, with Manning), and now Cincinnati. One may think the Bengals have lately earned some consideration and that perhaps there is a method to their madness.
Lest any of the orange faithful have fallen sway to this disinformation campaign, take heart. After a full week of focused breathing, hot yoga, and preseason game, I have found a level of calm that allows me to offer five logical considerations with respect to Dalton’s new contract.
1: No Money Down
The minimal amount of guaranteed money has been touted as one of the few sane moves that the Bengals managed to get into this deal. However, few have dug into the nature of this design. Dalton will make $17M in guaranteed money; $12M when he signed the deal last week, and $5M as a roster bonus last Thursday. Past that, however, Dalton has to earn his keep. Over the years, the Bengals built in performance escalators that allow Dalton to receive an extra $3M per year, however; they depend purely on playoff performance (50% of the bonus is contingent on making the Super Bowl). Additionally, though this is a six-year contract, annual “dead money” decreases each year. For example, if the Bengals release Dalton after only three years in 2017, the cap hit is less than $5M.