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Marvin Lewis cites Jay Cutler in Andy Dalton contract talks

In a bizarre comment that references Jay Cutler in regards to Andy Dalton's contract negotiations, did head coach Marvin Lewis just give everyone an idea of what the Bengals are offering?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

During Don Banks' excellent Sports Illustrated article that tries to articulate Cincinnati's fantastically successful run (postseason appearances in four of the past five years) with an elephant in the room side note (aka, no postseason wins), there's a nugget that requires a double-take -- not unlike reading a book in bed and realizing... I MUST have slept through the last page.

When asking if a contract extension gets done for quarterback Andy Dalton, Lewis said:

"I'm hopeful, you know?'' he said. "I know he would like to get it done and I know we'd like to get it done, and just hopefully we can get by that deal with my man, [Jay] Cutler in Chicago [seven years $54 million guaranteed] and we can all get something everybody likes.''

Did Lewis just publicly hint towards a ceiling for contract negotiations? Is Cutler the baseline from the team's perspective that says, we'll go as high as what Chicago gave the Bears? Cutler signed a seven-year contract worth $126.7 million with $54 million guaranteed. However, the deal is really worth $54 million over three years with a rolling guarantee that hits at the start of the new succeeding league year. According to Spotrac, the $54 million guaranteed that Cutler signed earlier this year is the second-highest guaranteed number among all NFL players with Peyton Manning earning $58 million guaranteed.

Cincinnati reportedly offered Dalton a contract earlier this month, along with Vontaze Burfict. Bengals analyst Dave Lapham called it a significant package -- to which someone responded, "that's what she said." Dalton also admitted in March that several proposals have been exchanged.