Is Andy Dalton a better quarterback than Carson Palmer?


It’s that dead zone period for the NFL and while the Cincinnati Bengals don’t return till July 26 for training camp, let’s compare franchise quarterbacks.

With the Cincinnati Bengals not returning to work until July 26 for the beginning of training camp, there is very little news surrounding the franchise. We use that time to look back on the past. Here we are going to compare Bengals quarterbacks. Many fans perceive former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer to be the superior leader over Andy Dalton, but what do the stats say?

Following the disappointing 2010 season for the Bengals, Palmer told the organization that he either wanted to be traded or he would retire. Owner Mike Brown ended up being forced to trade the franchise quarterback to the Oakland Raiders in October of 2011. The team received a first-round pick in 2012 and a second-round pick in 2013 for Palmer, which was quite a load considering Palmer was refusing to play for the Bengals.

Regardless, those two draft picks turned into drafting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and running back Giovani Bernard. Both players have become significant contributors on each side of the ball. Kirkpatrick had a down season suffering numerous injuries in 2017, but is looking to get back to his 2016 form. Bernard has continued to be the solid second running back for the Bengals offense.

As for Palmer, the Raiders finished the 2011 season with an 8-8 record, going 4-5 with Palmer under center. The following season was even worse as the Raiders went 4-12. That was enough for Oakland as they traded Palmer and a seventh-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for a sixth-round pick and a conditional pick in 2014. Much less than what they gave up to bring Palmer to Oakland. Following the collapse of Oakland, it also helped bring Hue Jackson to Cincinnati.

When Andy Dalton took over the starting quarterback position after being drafted in the second-round of the 2011 draft, he had a first-round wide receiver named A.J. Green to learn the new system with. Since then, Dalton has thrown for 18 or more touchdowns in all seven years with Cincinnati, four times throwing higher than 25. He’s also had 17 fourth quarter comebacks and 20 game-winning drives during his time with the Bengals and was a big reason why the team was in the playoffs his first five seasons.

While Dalton has ranged from 74.8 and 80.8 in Pro Football Focus Edge player grades all but one season in his career which is all average, he has put together a better statistical career in Cincinnati than the ladder. Each quarterback playing seven seasons with the Bengals, Dalton has played in twelve more games than Palmer due to injuries. His record with the Bengals is far better than Palmer’s as well (Dalton 63-44-2, Palmer 46-51).

In the seven seasons that Palmer was in Cincinnati, he threw for 22,694 yards, 154 touchdowns, and 100 interceptions with a completion percentage of 62.33 percent. Palmer also reached 20 interceptions in a season twice in Cincinnati. On the other hand, Dalton has thrown for 25,534 yards, 167 touchdowns, and 93 interceptions with a completion percentage of 62.3.

Next: Don't forget about Giovani Bernard in 2018

While Dalton may be just an average quarterback, he ranks better than Palmer during his seven seasons in Cincinnati. Which is why it’s surprising to me when fans talk about how much better Palmer was than Dalton. Palmer only had two winning seasons in Cincinnati while Dalton has had five. The real question is if Dalton can get the Bengals back to the playoffs in 2018 and do something neither quarterback has done in winning a playoff game for Cincinnati?