Last Call for Andy Dalton


Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2014 season now less than 2 months away, the Cincinnati Bengals and now fourth year starting quarterback Andy Dalton, appear to be in contract negotiations, and if the Bengals have their way, a contract will be hammered out before the start of the regular season. The Bengals like Dalton. They like his attitude, work ethic, no drama, and mostly his 30-18 regular season record. They also like his 0-3 playoff record. Why would that be appealing? It means they can get Dalton at below book value, because as much as the Cincinnati Bengals and owner Mike Brown like Andy Dalton, they love A.J. Green. In a salary cap league, signing Dalton at a discount might be the only way to keep him and A.J. Green together in the long run. Green will demand top dollar, and the Bengals are prepared to give it to him, with or without Dalton.
The proof is in the pudding. We all know that A.J. Green wouldn’t amass his 3,833 yards and 29 touchdowns without Andy Dalton, but with Green’s ranking at number 9 on the top 100 players of 2014 and his quarterback nowhere near the list, it’s clear to the Bengals what Dalton’s value is. High, but not top dollar high and the drafting of AJ McCarron demonstrated this. The Bengals are willing to move on from Dalton after this year if they cannot reach a deal that both sides can agree upon.
What are Dalton’s options? He can forego a contract, and hope for the best, maybe even pull a Joe Flacco, win the whole thing, and sign a maximum contract. Even if he were to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to a super bowl, he still may not receive a maximum contract just because of A.J. Green needing to be locked down and a bevy of young talent playing out rookie contracts.
His other option is to take the best available contract with incentives from the Bengals, much like what Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers signed earlier this year. With Andy Dalton and his wife Jordan welcoming their first son Noah into their family, a contract with guaranteed money before the season might be more appealing as financial security for the young family.
Either way, this might be Dalton’s last chance. If the Bengals and Dalton cannot agree on a deal then they are prepared to let him walk. He has done a lot for the Cincinnati Bengals, and no doubt has progressed well in the past three years. With that said, it takes two to sign a long term contract, and the Bengals will walk away at some point.