The Cincinnati Bengals are one of a few NFL teams that has both a franchise quarterback and a suitable backup in place.
Andy Dalton is signed to a very manageable contract for the foreseeable future, which gives the Bengals more flexibility to manage the rest of the roster. It also helps that the Bengals have one of the NFL’s best backup quarterbacks in AJ McCarron. In 2015, McCarron proved he can fill in for an injured Dalton and keep the team respectable.
According to Spotrac, the Bengals’ quarterbacks will combine for $16,975,413 in 2017, which is 10.98 percent of the overall cap. It’s also just the 18th-biggest cap hit of any NFL team with their quarterbacks.
Seeing the number so low is a testament to how good of a deal the Bengals got with their extension for Dalton, whose average salary is the 20th-highest of any quarterback heading into the 2017 season.
In 2017, Dalton will have a cap hit of $15,700,000, which is 9.05 percent of the Bengals’ overall cap hit this year. There’s also a $4,800,000 dead cap hit if he’s released (he won’t be). Dalton’s cap hit does jump to more than $16 million in the final three years of his deal, including $17,700,000 in 2020.
As for McCarron, he’ll make a modest $735,413 in 2017. If waived, the Bengals will be on the hook for a dead cap hit of $45,413. There’s virtually no chance that happens since the Bengals value him far too much.
The only other quarterback the Bengals have under contract is Jeff Driskel. The 2016 sixth-round selection of the San Francisco 49ers is facing stiff odds of making the final roster this year with Dalton and McCarron already locked in. The Bengals did make the surprising decision to claim Driskel off waivers last year and keep three quarterbacks for the entire season on the 53-man roster.
It doesn’t really matter in terms of cap hit since Driskel will account for just $540,000 this year. There’s also no dead cap hit for the Bengals if he’s released.
Here’s a contract breakdown for all of the Bengals quarterbacks heading into the 2017 season, courtesy of Over The Cap: