The more I think about it, the more I believe Andy Dalton should start this year. There are two obvious possibilities if Dalton starts.
1. The Bengals win
2. The Bengals lose
Now I agree, the Bengals may do better if we bring in a veteran quarterback. But, I ask what does an 8-8 season with a veteran quarterback accomplish? Nothing really.
If Dalton starts and the Bengals win, then mission accomplished we have our quarterback.
But if the Bengals lose with Dalton as the starter, then we have an evaluation of his performance to make a educated choice on taking Andrew Luck or Landry Jones early in the draft. If Dalton does not start, then all we can do is judge his potential versus their potential. There is obviously the potential to develop a situation like San Diego when they had Rivers and Brees, but I would argue that worked out fine for them. A quarterback with potential is easy to trade. The worst position we could be in is to wait on Dalton and have him not work out. That puts us back into the situations with Klinger or Smith, where we had to suffer through several years before we knew the quarterback would not succeed, and were stuck with them. This year is unique because of the shortened off season combined with bringing in a new offense. A veteran free agent does not improve the team, he just takes snaps away from Dalton. Because Dalton is a second round pick, he can be replaced as quarterback of the future next year, but I think giving him the chance to compete to start with Jordan Palmer and LeFevour lets us know if he should be the quarterback of the future, or if we should continue to look. I am not against bringing in a free agent to compete if Dalton is not ready, but we should cahse one with the expectaion that he sart for a year.