If Teddy Bridgewater falls in 2014 NFL draft, should the Bengals pull the trigger?

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Normally this would set the stage for conversation fodder. In reality, we're not sure what the Bengals intend to do with Andy Dalton. We're not even sure that the Bengals know.

Despite our own reservations about Andy Dalton and where the Bengals can go with him at quarterback, we're not necessarily fans of this idea. In the past week, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater hasn't generated the type of buzz that he had hoped for at this point in the predraft process. ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen famously reported on Friday that Bridgewater's private workouts "have also gone very shakily." Bridgewater's agent responded:

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for journalists who work in this new age of media," Kennard McGuire said via email to Pro Football Talk. "While I am certain this statement wasn't intended to be misleading, it is my duty to remove and eliminate any doubt. Teddy has visited multiple teams with more workouts and visits coming in the near future. The assessment we received from the one workout was ‘simply amazing and sharp,’ and we expect nothing short or less than stellar in the upcoming workouts in the very near future."

Considering that the agent gets paid a percentage of the player's salary, file his response under the heading, "I need him drafted inside the top-ten." We should also note that Mortensen has been the only reporter to speak with such absolution on private workouts conducted by Bridgewater -- though he pieced together a "shaky" Pro Day as well.

These type of predraft reports tend to be more customary than aberration. While Bridgewater is undergoing a possible free-fall due to workouts, this is the same quarterback that posted 58 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions in his final two seasons at Louisville.

The question from a Bengals perspective is this: If Bridgewater falls to them, do the Bengals select him at No. 24 overall?

Normally this would set the stage for conversation fodder. In reality, we're not sure what the Bengals intend to do with Andy Dalton. We're not even sure that the Bengals know. When Mike Brown spoke about his quarterback's future during NFL league meetings last month, it appeared he was having an internal debate and we were just observers to the spectacle.

"More often than not you don’t win overpaying a guy," Brown said, via Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "With quarterbacks there is another dilemma. With a fixed cap there is a certain amount of money and no more. You allocate that on a quarterback you have less to hand out to everybody else. It can cause attrition. We are going through a difficult time right now because we are trying to work through a deal with Andy and trying to hold back enough money in the cap to do that, yet we don’t know what that is...

"Do you have a high-priced quarterback and less elsewhere or do you try to have as many guys as you can have and maybe a quarterback that is young and not so highly paid? Seattle, for example of that. In fact, you look at the statistics it is rather surprising how few quarterbacks that are old in recent years — saying over 30 — have won the Super Bowl. They've gotten there but they haven’t won it. I don’t know is that better formula to go with a younger guy and spread the money around? That’s a dilemma for us. We are trying to work through it. It’s slow going. I can’t predict when we are going to get that matter resolved."

If we're at the betting table, we're still putting our chips on a mid-round quarterback -- not a first-rounder; even if Bridgewater falls to them at No. 24. Then again, we know that the Bengals will grab a player that they really like if they're falling down the board. They were recipients of that benefit with guys like Tyler Eifert in the first round, and Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson and, to some degree, Geno Atkins, in recent years.

Cincinnati will do whatever they want -- and with their track record in recent drafts, my personal perspective is to let them have at it; they've earned the right. If a quarterback is selected in the first round, it may cause more distractions than it resolves. If Dalton throws three interceptions in the first half, will there be calls for a change? Probably, but considering Cincinnati ignored calls for Carson Palmer during momentary struggles from Jon Kitna in '03, they'll ignore 'em again. If Dalton has an extremely good season, wins a playoff game or two, do the Bengals extend Dalton while having Bridgewater on the bench, going from a first-rounder to trade-bait within 2-3 years?

Makes for an interesting May.

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