Not even one hour had passed after this was posted before Dalton and the bengals agreed to a new deal. Such is life.
It is quite surprising though to think Cincinnati is ready to pay Andy Dalton like he's an 'elite' player. With the franchise tag on the table for next year, the Bengals essentially have two more seasons to let Dalton prove he's worth a deal like this, as it's hard to see him showing he's worth more.
Walter White made a good point regarding this:
@CincyJungle the point of extending someone is to potentially save money. If you are going to pay him elite money, let him test the market— Walter White (@TheOneWhoKnocks) July 26, 2014
That's the smart way to do it, and that's how the Baltimore Ravens essentially did it with Joe Flacco. They let him play out his rookie deal, and signed him in the offseason once they realized what other teams were going to offer him on the open market.
Though the Ravens could have saved money by signing him to a new deal prior to his final season, they were smart to make sure Flacco earned the deal he got. In the process of earning said deal, he led Baltimore to a Super Bowl victory.
More food for thought: It took Flacco five years to finally show what his ceiling as a player was. The Bengals are trying to extend Dalton with just three seasons under his belt. Why not at least make him get that fourth year in?
Many believe Dalton has reached his ceiling, but plenty of quarterbacks, including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan were still improving into the fifth years. Manning threw 100 interceptions in his first five seasons combined, but only 49 in the next four seasons. As for Flacco, he threw just eights touchdowns in his first nine postseason games over his first four season, but in 2012, he threw 11 TDs in four games, including three in the Super Bowl in over Colin Kaepernick's 49ers.
At the end of the day, Cincinnati could be best served to let Dalton play out his deal, test the market, then sign him to a deal based on his market.