Could the Bengals actually pull the plug on Andy Dalton and find a new signal-caller in 2016?
It seems crazy after one season to the think that the Bengals would actually part with the man they gave a $100 million contract to. It's not liked he played terribly in 2014 either, considering all of his best past-catchers were banged up and missed multiple games, if not the whole year like Marvin Jones did.
Still, it's not out of the question based on how his contract is structured. Dalton won't have any more fully-guaranteed money going forward if the Bengals cut or trade him when the 2015 season ends. That's why some, like NFL.com's Adam Schein, think Dalton could be out of Cincinnati next year.
Dalton was among nine prominent quarterbacks Schein predicted that won't be with their respective clubs in 2016.
There are three guarantees in life: death, taxes and Andy Dalton flopping on the big stage.
The Bengals quarterback is 0-4 in the playoffs with a 1:6 TD-to-INT ratio. He routinely struggles in prime-time games during the regular season. (Remember the "Thursday Night Football" debacle against Cleveland? I'm talkin' 2.0 QB rating, folks.) Dalton, quite clearly, is holding back a talented roster, wasting a solid core of players in Cincy.
At some point, the Bengals have to wake up, right? Actually, to their credit, team execs did wise up with the construction of his contract last August. While the deal was reported as a bloated six-year, $96 million pact, it's essentially a year-to-year situation. And while Marvin Lewis and friends continue to pump up their quarterback to the media, the Bengals can hit the escape hatch on the Red Rocket after the 2015 season. If we predictably experience another season of big-stage blowups, will there be any other choice?
My take: I don't think it's as far-fetched that Dalton will be gone in 2016 as some may think. As Schein points out, Lewis is going into a lame-duck season, and if Cincinnati flames out in 2016, he could be gone. Would the next head coach want to hitch his wagon to Dalton?
Oh, and the last time the Bengals went into a season with Lewis on the final year of his deal -- 2010 -- it ended up being Carson Palmer who wasn't back the next year, though that was by his own doing.