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Andy Dalton will be a difference maker somewhere in 2020

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CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 29: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks thru the tunnel to the locker room following the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 29: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks thru the tunnel to the locker room following the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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It seems unlikely that Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will be back with the team in 2020. However, you can count on him to be a difference-maker for another organization next season.

Quarterback Andy Dalton took a couple of kneel-downs on Sunday afternoon and finished the 2019 season with a win for his Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately, his resume will note only two victories, a benching, and uncertainty to wrap up the year.

It’s not all bad. This isn’t Eli Manning in New York. This isn’t a broken down Peyton Manning finishing up a career in Denver. While his status as the quarterback of the Bengals is uncertain, it’s not so as a starter somewhere in the NFL.

Dalton leaves a legacy in Cincinnati that is a mixed bag. He holds franchise records, led the Bengals to the playoffs, but never won a postseason game. Dalton fanatics will push back and point to a myriad of numbers that indicate how great he was in Cincinnati, but 0-for the playoffs is hard to look past in an overall assessment.

If all the indicators are correct, and Dalton is elsewhere in 2020, he has the opportunity to be an immediate difference-maker. For any team close to breaking through, Dalton is an intriguing prospect. The Chicago Bears,  Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers, and even the Oakland Raiders are teams who would get better immediately with him under center.

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In Cincinnati, a team that appears a lock to draft Joe Burrow from LSU, he could be a figure who looms large. As good as Burrow might be, the gap Dalton leaves as a proven veteran will be noticeable as the Bengals look to navigate away from 2-14 to a record more respectable. Frankly, Dalton hanging around for an extra year isn’t completely insane on a smart one year deal.

All that said, Week 17 at Paul Brown Stadium should be how he goes out. A win against their division rival Cleveland Browns is a good farewell that was all about leaving a lasting impression that only feels good. For Dalton to have another upside-down kind of year as the Bengals start to rebuild, seems a cruel and unnecessary punishment for a player who was a good citizen in Cincinnati.

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Wherever Dalton winds up in 2020, it’s likely to be better than the last few seasons in Cincinnati. Going somewhere to win should be his only priority and something Bengals fans should cheer for.

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