As few expect the Bengals to sign any UFAs of note from other teams, our focus should be on what in-house priorities are on the horizon. Dalton, Green, Burfict and Gresham will all be free agents next year. Green can be extended via an option equivalent to the top 10 at this position based on 2014 cap values (same amount as the transition tag, which works out to be $10,176,000 as of today). The team would prefer to have a longer-term deal in place but the 2015 option gives them time to focus elsewhere if needed. The same is true for Burfict. At a cap hit of $570,333 for 2014, he is woefully underpaid (although he has earned additional money through the NFL's Performance-Based Pool). Next year he will be an RFA, meaning he can be extended a 1st round tender (approx. $3.3M) which gives the team some control over his future albeit not complete as we've all seen through the Andrew Hawkins saga. So that really leaves Dalton as Priority #1 as I don't expect the team to extend Gresham.
Dalton has made one Pro Bowl appearance and has been to the playoffs all three years in the NFL, however he's yet to win one. Only one QB ranks in the Top 15 for APY without a playoff win - Matthew Stafford - and his contract is more a result of the previous CBA's out-of-whack rookie salaries. The next closest comparison is Jay Cutler (one playoff win, one Pro Bowl appearance) and he's making $18.1M APY. I would argue the Bears overpaid for him this offseason but the same can be said for most QBs who land a new contract (unless your name is Brady, Manning, Rodgers or Brees). I think the Bengals may be able to retain Dalton at something closer to $16-17M which would put him closer to Eli Manning's APY. Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick will also be UFAs in 2015 and should earn a stronger contract than Dalton, so this salary range would rank him 12th highest APY (note that Brady has a below-market deal so he actually ranks below several lesser QBs). This feels a little high to me based on his lack of big-game heroics, but it doesn't feel completely off either.
How does this impact our cap room moving forward? The team has easily enough space to take care of Dalton, Green and Burfict this year and still have significant room (>$30M) next year with few major holes on the roster depending how well they are able to draft this year.