With the Cincinnati Bengals widely expected to select their quarterback of the future with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the question of Andy Dalton‘s fate in Cincy sits squarely in the balance as we barrel towards the new league year.
In the interim, the Bengals will work with Dalton to attempt to facilitate a trade when the time is right, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on NFL NOW Wednesday, according to someone briefed of the team’s plans.
“One thing that is very clear is how highly the Bengals organization thinks of Andy Dalton; off the field, on the field, in the locker room, how he handled last year and everything. My understanding is, according to someone briefed of the team’s plans, they’re going to work with Andy Dalton to facilitate a trade out of Cincinnati when the time is right,” Rapoport said. “Everyone assumes they’re going to take Joe Burrow or at the very least a quarterback, and this is something that’s been communicated to Dalton. It’s also something that Duke Tobin told me on the RapSheet + Friends Podcast a couple of weeks ago. They value Dalton and they want to work with him and they’re not going to do anything that puts him in a bad spot or that he does not agree with going forward.”
Dalton has one season left on his contract with zero guaranteed money. Cincinnati would save $17.7 million on the salary cap by cutting ties with Dalton, either via trade or outright release.
It’s no surprise that Cincy would shop the veteran signal-caller. The bigger question is whether there is a team willing to part with any sort of draft capital to get dibs on Dalton and his 1-year contract rather than risk him hitting the open market.
It’s conceivable that the Bengals could agree to eat part of Dalton’s salary in an effort to get back a better draft pick.
With a bevy of veteran QBs set to be free agents on March 18, the Bengals own the option to keep Dalton well into the new league year to see if a team ends up squeezed out of the market. Given that the team seems to want what’s best for Dalton in a breakup, however, it appears the Cincy brass would try not to hang the QB out to dry.
Duke Tobin told Rapoport on The RapSheet + Friends Podcast last month that he would attempt help Dalton land in an ideal spot.
“I can tell you one thing, what Andy Dalton‘s done for the Cincinnati Bengals is not something that we’re going to forget and we’re not going to just willy-nilly, make something happen with him that, a) he’s uncomfortable with and, b) that we’re uncomfortable with,” Tobin said at the time.
Whenever it happens, the expectation remains that Dalton’s days with the Bengals are close to being over, whether that comes via trade is the first question to be answered.