FanPost

A Proposed Dalton Extension

Andy Dalton has put up really big numbers in his first 3 years. Really big. His agent is going to argue that he is worth elite money – like $18M-$20M/year.

The Bengals are going to point to his post-season record, and explain his positive stats with his supporting cast (Top 5 pass blocking O-Line, a top 5 WR, and several high quality receiving TE/WR/RB options). They are likely going to argue that he’s really only worth an Alex Smith type deal (around $8M/year).

In my opinion, Dalton is adequate - but doesn’t have the ability to turn an average supporting cast into a contender (like Brady and other elite QBs do). He needs a great supporting cast to produce at a high level. Paying him like a top 10 QB is going to mean that some of his supporting cast is going to disappear due to cap constraints.

Therefore, it is my opinion that Dalton can be paid no more than $12M/year (closer to $10/year would be better).

So, do the Bengals have the leverage to get Dalton to sign such a contract? Well, I would suggest that they do have some leverage, as long as they sign him before this season. The Bengals could offer Dalton a contract like the following (please understand, this is extremely simplified).

$10M signing bonus (spread out in the cap over 5 years) with a $5M roster bonus in 2014 and a $10M roster bonus in 2015. The contract would be structured as follows:

Year

Base Salary

Signing Bonus

Roster Bonus

Cap Hit

2014

$1M

$2M

$5M

$8M

2015

$1M

$2M

$10M

$13M

2016

$7M

$2M

$0

$9M

2017

$9M

$2M

$0

$11M

2018

$11M

$2M

$0

$13M

2019

$16M

$0

$0

$16M

Why it makes sense for the Bengals:

Dalton’s average cap hit is under $12M/year. If Dalton implodes in 2014, they have a "poison pill" option. They can cut him prior to giving him his $10M roster bonus in 2015. This would count against the cap at a hefty $8M – so that would hurt… but that’s a one year penalty to admit your mistake with Dalton and move on, rather than be forced to drag it out for 5 more years. That type of flexibility is valuable at the QB position.

If Dalton continues to play average football, and doesn’t take the next step, the Bengals would also be able to part ways with him any time after 2016 at a relatively minor cap penalty. That way, if they draft a QB that they feel can offer an upgrade, the structure of the contract doesn’t marry them to Dalton for more than 3 years from now.

The 2019 line is basically phony money. They could cut him with no penalty if he isn’t a franchise QB by that time. If he is a franchise QB by then, they will negotiate a new contract with him before then. So in reality, it’s a 5 year $54M contract ($10.8M/year). I think most Bengal fans would be happy with those numbers.

So in summary, the Bengals are getting their starting QB under contract for the next 6 years at a fair price, with some built in insurance early on if he implodes, or later on if he continues to plateau.

Why it makes sense for Dalton:

Dalton’s current contract has him making a little more than $1M this year. If the Bengals were to put a transition tag on him next year, it will cost around $15M. So that is around $8M/year for the next two seasons. That’s not exactly hitting the lottery for a QB… and in order to see that $15M he will have to stay healthy, and have a great season in 2014. (Ask Geno Atkins if he’s happy he didn’t take that risk – and instead signed a contract that was below market value).

So… instead of getting $1M in the next 12 months – Dalton gets at minimum $16M (roughly the same he would get in a best case scenario if he doesn’t sign this deal). Additionally, as long as he doesn’t implode, he sees $26M in the next 12 months via the $10M roster bonus. That’s a good $25M more than he’s currently scheduled to get.

Perhaps the overall contract is less than he feels like he’s worth, but averaging $11.667/year isn’t exactly a slap in the face for a guy who has played as poorly as he has in the playoffs. And a $26M insurance policy in the first year has to feel pretty nice – (again… ask Geno Atkins).

Lastly, Dalton's agent would be able to sell this to the public as a larger contract than it is. Because this is an extension in the last year of his deal - they will publicize this as a 5-year $70M extension. So despite the reasons I've mentioned that this is favorable to the Bengals - Dalton's agent will still be able to brag about getting his client $14M/year (even if it's not true).

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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