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Andy Dalton among NFL's Top 100 most Influential People

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When you make the big bucks, you're an influential figure. That's not necessarily a good thing in Andy Dalton's case.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Dalton may not get much respect around the NFL, but he's still nonetheless a very influential figure when it comes to professional football.

That's likely the case with anyone who has a $96 million contract like Dalton. That helped him make the MMQB's list of the NFL's 100 most influential people for the 2015 season. Dalton came in on the list at No. 38, though it wasn't supported by a ringing endorsement by Robert Klemko:

38. Andy Dalton, Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals

We interrupt this list with a bit of pro football trivia: Who are the only two quarterbacks in NFL history to have lost their first four playoff games? Answer: Y.A. Tittle and Andy Dalton. Dalton has been a postseason disaster, with one touchdown, six interceptions and a 57.8 passer rating in losses at Indianapolis, vs. San Diego and twice in Houston.

Another playoff loss would put Dalton in uncharted territory for a quarterback, historically and locally; his $96 million contract is low on guarantees and could reasonably be torn up after the 2015 season. Armed with a healthy cadre of wide receivers after a spate of injuries contributed to his statistical downturn in 2014, Dalton has every incentive to turn around a souring reputation and stake a long-term claim on the Cincinnati QB job.

Dalton was just ahead of Saints owner Tom Benson (39) and new Jets head coach Todd Bowles (40) and behind Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (37). I'm not sure Dalton deserves to be mentioned in the same stratosphere as Gronk, but that's a discussion for another day.

Until Dalton wins a playoff game and/or has a great regular season that doesn't include debacles like he had vs. the Browns last year, these kinds of scathing reviews will continue to be prevalent. That is, as long as he can keep hold of a starting job while being paid $15+ million per year.

Based on this offseason, you might even think AJ McCarron was a more influential figure than Dalton.

Part of why Dalton made the list is because 2015 is being claimed as a make or break year for the Bengals' quarterback. As Klemko mentions, the Bengals can do away with Dalton after this season and won't face much of a financial loss. It's time for Dalton to step up and have his best season yet, or it's likely the last year he'll make any type of "most influential" list.