Sticking with Red: Re-Examining Andy Dalton’s 2013 Contract

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Jun 16, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) answers questions from the media during minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The dichotomy of Andy Dalton is palpable this offseason, which ironically suggests that it never has been in the past.  To say that Dalton has been controversial since being drafted in 2011 could be the single biggest understatement one can make surrounding this Cincinnati franchise, but despite your opinions on ‘the Red Rifle’ it remains difficult to get objective views on the Bengals in any regard.  On the one hand, any of the national sports syndicates have institutionally given the Bengals only the slightest analytical attention due to their relatively low market share and the outdated stereotype of the Cardiac Cats perennial cellar dwelling in the AFC North.

On the other hand, local fans and pundits maintain such significant stores of self-loathing, thanks to the Lost Decades (1991-2011), that their collectively-bred cynicism can literally shatter light bulbs if focused strongly enough.  Indeed, if asked most cannot hesitate to offer that Dalton is “under the most pressure” of nearly any quarterback during this season in large part due to his uniquely structured contract, which allows the Bengals to cut the fifth-year signal caller with minimal disturbance to the salary cap in 2016.  However, those same fans and pundits also begrudgingly acknowledge that, “when it comes to Bengals quarterbacks, there’s Andy Dalton and there’s everyone else.”  This paradox leads one to question: is Dalton really in as pivotal a season as many suppose?

Next: So, is he?