Bengals owner and de facto general manager Mike Brown spoke to reporters today, and his starting quarterback was among the topics addressed. According to Brown, while using the franchise tag on Andy Dalton in 2015 remains an option, the team would like to get a longer-term deal done, and is hopeful that an agreement will be reached soon (all Twitter links via Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com). Brown went on to say that he thinks an extension for Dalton should be in the range of Colin Kaepernick‘s new contract with the 49ers (Twitter link).
The comparison to Kaepernick’s situation and extension is an interesting one, since the structure of that deal was considered somewhat team-friendly, and its overall value could fluctuate significantly depending on whether the Niners’ signal-caller triggers certain escalators. The six new years added to Kaepernick’s contract could be worth anywhere from $114MM ($19MM annually) to $126MM ($21MM per year), which seems like a steep price tag for Brown to voluntarily assign to Dalton. On the other hand, only about $13MM of that contract is fully guaranteed, and if you count the 2014 season as part of the deal, its overall annual value slips closer to the neighborhood of $17-18MM.
With both sides expressing optimism about working out a multiyear agreement, I’d be a little surprised if Dalton hadn’t signed an extension by the time the regular season gets underway. Still, as Brown notes, the franchise tag could be in play for the club in March if nothing has been worked out by that point. This past year, the franchise figure for quarterbacks amounted to $16.912MM.