Right now, the Bengals are doing exactly what they need to be doing. You know, people are always under the assumption that just because we are not spending just to be spending means that we aren’t doing a good job. People are going to be upset that we didn’t attempt to sign Goldson, and that we didn’t get to sign Reggie Bush. The fact of the matter is that the two of those guys came at a price far beyond what we should spend. We have a great group of young core players on our team that will be due for extensions soon, and if we end up overspending at positions we could address in the draft instead, we will be at a disadvantage when we come to sign those core guys.
This is a wash for me. On one hand, signing a seasoned backup like Josh Johnson would allow us to have a veteran player familiar with the offense that could come in in a pinch if Andy were ever to have to come out. On the other hand, drafting someone like EJ Manuel out of Florida State or Zac Dysert from Miami (OH) would allow us to develop someone to fill in for an injured Dalton or, in a worse case scenario, be a candidate to replace Dalton if he ends up not being the guy for the job. Either way, this move is about competition. We need to have a guy that can sit behind Dalton and keep him motivated to improve his game.
It depends on the value that you can get. If there is a veteran QB out there who has some upside still, I’d sign him to have someone ready to play in case Dalton goes down. However, Dalton hasn’t shown he is a franchise QB yet. I wouldn’t be opposed to spending a mid round draft pick on a QB and grooming him as the backup and a guy who can push Dalton for that starting spot and hopefully push him to take that next step.
Then if Dalton doesn’t, you have other options.
Both choices have their own pros and cons, but bringing in a veteran seems to be the right way to go with this. The Bengals want their backup quarterback to be exactly that, a backup. The goal here is to have Dalton start all 16 games and then lead them back into the playoffs for a 3rd straight season. Their plan, however, does not include someone coming in and replacing Andy Dalton as the starter. Having a 2nd string quarterback on the roster that can teach Dalton a thing or two about being a pro and maybe a thing or two about taking phantom sacks. There is a big downside to this process though, and that is these guys usually get signed to one or two year deals and when they become free agents they usually move on. Example: Bruce Gradkowski.
Bringing in a rookie through free agency does have its perks and if the Bengals are in the business of replacing Dalton in the near future, this may not be a bad option. The problem this year is lack of quarterback talent in the draft. An effective backup needs to be able to manage the game and not make terrible turnovers to take the team out of contention, and honestly a 5th round rookie may not be able to handle that. There are going to be a couple decent late and I mean late round picks at QB available, including Landry Jones (Oklahoma), or even Collin Klein (Kansas State). A rookie backup is not going to be in a position to give any kind of advice to Dalton and because of this they’re not expected to light up the scoreboard either. Given the amount of sacks Dalton took last season, an injury could be a very real possibility, and I think Bengaldom would feel much more comfortable with a known veteran coming in to take the reigns for a game or two than a first year mediocre quarterback.