Cincinnati Bengals: 4 Andy Dalton to the Colts Trade Scenarios
This is a tough pill to swallow to acquire Dalton if you’re the Colts. Still, if their coaching staff flips on the tape and believes #14 has the chance to be their franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future, you give up the offensive lineman for the signal-caller every time.
Admittedly, a lot of this deal depends on whether the Colts can get deals done with offensive line free agents Anthony Castonzo and Joe Haeg. They should have no problem doing so, considering they currently wield over $86 million in cap space.
If Castonzo re-ups, they keep the left side of the offensive line intact. Securing Haeg gives them a suitable replacement for Smith. With the ridiculous amount of cap space in Indianapolis, they could even go out and secure one of the top offensive lineman free agents and not miss a beat with the departure of Braden Smith.
For the Bengals, Smith is just 23-years-old and will be under team control on a cheap contract for two more years. He has experience playing guard in college and has performed at a high level at tackle, earning fantastic PFF grades of 72.8 and 79.8 in his first two years in the league. He definitely has the potential to continue improving and be the piece to solve the Bengals offensive line puzzle.
Considering that the coaching staff seems content with the current configuration of the offensive trenches, it is unlikely they’ll go out and spend $15 million-plus on one of the top free-agent offensive linemen. There’s no guarantee they could lure one to Cincinnati even if they wanted to. This would be the cheapest way to secure top-end talent besides the draft, which is never a sure thing.