Bengals Must Show Patience in Quarterback Search

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 30: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 30, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 30: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 30, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Some Bengals fans have been clamoring for a new quarterback for years. They may finally get their wish soon, but the front office must not rush the process. 

Coming in to this season, everybody knew Andy Dalton was being evaluated under new head coach Zac Taylor. Things haven’t gone well. He has thrown just six touchdowns to five interceptions. The team is 0-4.

It is certainly not all his fault. He has had to deal with a horrendous offensive line and many of his favorite weapons suffering injuries, but every starting quarterback has to deal with these type of issues to some degree. Dalton has not handled them well in 2019. The team is likely to find themselves with a high draft pick and a top quarterback prospect ready to be selected.

Pulling the trigger on the reset and moving on from Dalton may seem tempting. The team would get a new face of the franchise, pull some fans back in, and generate a much needed buzz.  Not to mention, they would get a lot of salary cap room to address other positions of need.

However, before giving in to the temptation, they need to take a step back and analyze the situation further.

First, they need to recognize what they have in Dalton. He’s not a top ten quarterback, but he has played like one in the past with the right supporting cast. He has been put in awful situations that have made him look worse than he is. How many games has he had to play with constant pressure? How many times has he gotten under center without his most important targets flanking him? If he had some of the luxuries of some other quarterbacks, it reasonable to think he can return to his 2015 form.

With Dalton under contract, the Bengals are better off than a lot of teams in the NFL at the quarterback position. If you don’t believe me just ask the Miami Dolphins or Washington Redskins what they would do to have a quarterback like Dalton right now.

Before giving up on him, they need to determine if they are willing to risk losing a solid quarterback and potentially dropping to the back half of the NFL at the quarterback position. They should also consider letting him finish out his contract to keep him around as insurance and to mentor the next guy in line.

If Bengals brass decide to move on, they need to be sure that they spend their top pick on a quarterback who is worthy of such a selection, even if it takes several years to find that prospect.

It’s looking increasingly more likely that they will be in a race for the number one overall pick with franchises like the Dolphins and Redskins. If they lose out on the top pick, it is almost guaranteed that gunslinger Tua Tagovailoa will be off the board.

They need to avoid taking the next quarterback prospect on their board in picks 2-5 if they aren’t sure he is the guy to lead the franchise. Many franchises have fallen victim to overvaluing quarterbacks in desperation to compete.

It is important to remember that some of the best quarterbacks in the league weren’t selected number one overall, or even in the top five. Russell Wilson was taken in the third round, Patrick Mahomes was scooped up 10th overall, Aaron Rodgers fell all the way to the 24th pick. Everybody knows the story of Tom Brady as well. Front offices fall into the trap of thinking they must select a quarterback if they have a high pick. Fans grow hysterical if their favorite team passes on a quarterback.

The thinking immediately goes to believing they will have to have another poor season to get that top three pick to get their quarterback of the future. This simply isn’t true.

It is more important that they find a quarterback who fits what Taylor wants to do offensively and ensure that when that guy steps on the field, he is put in a good position.

That means building the offensive line, stocking up on skill players, and building a defense to help out the face of the franchise. It would be more beneficial to spend this year’s top pick on an offensive lineman, pass rusher, or linebacker rather than gambling on somebody they are unsure of.

Would you prefer Chase Young this year and Trevor Lawrence the season after? Or watch the front office gamble on a guy like Jacob Eason? Sure, he could pan out, but the chances are better with Lawrence.

light. Related Story. Minkah Fitzpatrick: Should Bengals Have Paid the Price?

There is no exact science in the search for a quarterback. Nobody knows who the next franchise quarterback will be for the Bengals or any other team. Even the most seasoned scouts can be wrong about a prospect.

Fans and Bengals decision makers need to remember that patience is key. Rushing a quarterback along can set a franchise back years. The team needs to find someone they are comfortable with, target him, and go get him. If that happens this year, great. However, if it is a year down the line, take comfort in the fact that Cincinnati will be building the roster to make a transition to the cornerstone quarterback of the future much easier.