The Cincinnati Bengals have contracts on their mind they would like to negotiate this offseason but Andy Dalton is not one of them.
The Cincinnati Bengals spent more than expected in free agency this offseason hitting around $25 million. That is about $10 million more than the club wanted to spend but they took the opportunity to grab guys that will be immediate impacts in 2018. Since head coach Marvin Lewis was retained at the end of the regular season, the club has been focusing on getting back to contenders in 2018, not rebuilding for the future.
The team still has veterans that they want to re-sign this offseason including defensive linemen Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. A couple smaller signings they would like to try and get done as well include tight ends Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah. The Bengals believe that signing and rewarding their own players is the key to success and keeping that core of the team.
One contract that Cincinnati will not be looking to extend this offseason is quarterback Andy Dalton. There’s no reason for the Bengals to be looking at extending Dalton or paying him more at this point in his current deal. Including the 2018 season, Dalton still has three years left on his contract. A contract that is now a very team friendly contract when looking at how high quarterbacks are getting paid today.
Dalton is set to make $16 million in 2018 after all of the bonus money is factored in which is the 17th highest among quarterbacks in the NFL. While it was an expensive signing when made in 2014 it is not looking like a great deal for the Bengals organization when the cap space continues to rise. It allows the team to spend what they would normally be spending on a quarterback building around Dalton.
It made sense for the team to spend the money to keep Dalton in 2014 when he was coming off of his rookie deal. He was a winning quarterback and helped lead the Bengals to the playoffs multiple years. However, when his passer rating has dropped each of the last three years since signing his new deal, there is no reason for the Bengals to rip up the current contract and give him more. Vice president Troy Blackburn see’s no reason to extend him this season.
“We didn’t sign the Andy Dalton deal because we thought it was a good deal. At the time it was an expensive deal. It was a heavy lift,” Troy Blackburn said. “We did it because Andy was a winning starting quarterback in the National Football League, he had demonstrated that. We know statistically your best chance of success is by rewarding your own players and maintaining that quality core. That is what drove that. We are certainly aware quarterback deals have evolved since then. We know that at the right time we will have to evolve as well. We don’t think this is the time right now. What we are going to focus on right now is building the best team for 2018 we possibly can.”
Cincinnati believes that bringing back tight end Tyler Eifert on a one-year prove it deal and the trade for offensive tackle Cordy Glenn will help get Dalton back to his 2015 season performances. They still have a lot of work to do on the offensive line to find some protection for him but that is looking to be the main goal of the draft.
The current contract with Dalton gives Cincinnati a free out after 2018 if they decide to move on from Dalton. This will be the last season that there will be dead money by cutting the veteran quarterback. It will be a good test to see what Dalton does this year to try and earn a better contract possibly next season or at least hold off the drafting of his successor.