The Time Is Now
This is one of the few times that Who Dey Nation should agree with the Bengals’ front office. Despite being offered a 2nd and 4th round pick for McCarron prior to the ’16 season by an unnamed team, the Bengals refused and kept him as their backup. If Dalton had gotten hurt again, the coaching staff would have been confident with McCarron coming in with some NFL experience on his resume.
Instead, Dalton stayed healthy for the entire season. Marvin Lewis even called it “his best.” The numbers agree with Lewis, too. Dalton broke 4,000 yards for the second time in his career and fell just 10 completions and 88 yards away from Bengals’ single-season records in those categories. He even threw a career-low eight interceptions, the only QB in franchise history to throw single-digit picks while starting every game. In his last two seasons, he’s only thrown 15 interceptions over 949 pass attempts. That’s 1.6 percent.
The Cast Of Characters
Furthermore, 2016 was with a cast around him that was a shell of itself from a year ago.
Working with receivers he had never thrown to (Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd, Alex Erickson, Cody Core) and others with limited experience (C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Kroft, James Wright), Dalton was still steady.
Dalton is under contract until 2020. Although the terms of his deal are not player-friendly (the team can receive cap savings ranging from $10.9 to $17.7 million depending on which offseason he is released leading up to the expiration of his contract), a season like 2016 will keep him in the Queen City for the time being.
The Bengals will be fielding offers for McCarron in the upcoming months. It’s imperative that they strike now. If Dalton is your franchise QB (which all signs point to), keeping trade-bait like McCarron is not necessary. If for some reason they can’t get a deal done and McCarron is on the sidelines again in 2017, he will walk after next season and the Bengals won’t get anything for him.