Earlier this offseason, Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin left all options on the table when addressing Andy Dalton‘s future. Now, the wheels are in motion for the expected scenario to play out. The Bengals informed their longtime quarterback that they’re willing to work with him in order to facilitate a trade, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears.
The Bengals are widely expected to take LSU’s Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick. Dalton, in theory, could return as a bridge to Burrow (or another QB), but the veteran has made it known that he wants to start in 2020.
Dalton, a second-round pick in 2011, has been the Bengals’ starter since the get-go. But, in the midst of a dreadful 2019 for the entire team, he was benched in favor of rookie Ryan Finley. Dalton got the ball back in Week 13, but he didn’t do much to change anyone’s mind. In the final four games of the season, Dalton completed just 57.9% of his throws with seven touchdowns that were tarnished by six interceptions.
For what it’s worth, Dalton was under center for the Bengals’ only two victories of the season – a 22-6 win over the Jekyll-and-Hyde Jets and W over the Browns (sans Myles Garrett) in the finale.
Dalton, 33 in October, has thrown for a franchise record 204 touchdowns. He’s also three full seasons removed from his best work. In 2016, he captured his third career Pro Bowl nomination with a 64.7% completion rate and 4,206 passing yards. Even then, his 18 passing touchdowns were nothing to write home about and the Bengals only managed a 6-9-1 record on the year.
Still, Dalton is an important part of the franchise’s history. He’s one of only five quarterbacks in NFL history to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first five seasons, but when Marvin Lewis was finally fired after last year it signaled the beginning of the end. As for where the TCU product might land, that’s very much up in the air. There are a number of teams that could be interested on paper, but there are also going to be a ton of veteran quarterbacks looking for new homes. This should be one of the most active quarterback carousels in recent memory, and it’s possible Dalton is dealt sometime after the dust settles between free agency and the draft.
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