When Dalton went out, Jeff Driskel entered the game in the third quarter and went 17 for 29 with 155 yards and one passing touchdown. He performed well given the circumstances, but with Dalton out for the rest of the season and only Tom Savage backing him up, the Bengals msy want to get some more quarterback help.
The Bengals already have had a quarterback scare with Driskel, as the former Louisiana Tech Bulldog limped around after finding himself on the receiving end of a roughing the passer penalty. If Driskel had to leave, the Bengals would have had to put Tyler Boyd or Alex Erickson at quarterback.
The Bengals only have Driskel and Savage on their active roster after the latter was claimed off waivers this season.
So, who could the Bengals sign to replace Dalton?
He’s technically not a free agent, but this move makes the most sense. The Bengals added Connor Cook to the practice squad three weeks ago, so that would be an easy add. Since Cook is already on the practice squad, he already knows the offense, so this seems like a no-brainer.
Every time a quarterback has been injured in the NFL over the last three years, all eyes are on on Colin Kaepernick. After all, how many free agent quarterbacks are there out there that have been to a Super Bowl? But Kaep seems unlikely to join the Bengals for several reasons, first and foremost because Mike Brown wants nothing to do with the protests that he started. It's also hard to justify all of the media attention and controversy for a player who will back up Driskel, though Kaepernick may end up being the better starter if he were signed.
The Dolphins didn’t re-sign their longtime backup quarterback this year, so the Bengals might give him a call. Matt Moore, 34, could bring some veteran leadership to a room (of Driskel and Cook) that is composed of two 25-year-olds who have no career regular season starts between the two of them. In 11 NFL seasons, Moore is 15-15 as a starter with 7.1 yards per attempt, 45 touchdowns, 36 interceptions, 59.6 completion percentage and a rating of 81.2.
The former Baltimore Raven and New England Patriot is still on the market, but probably for good reason. Mallet was released from the Texans in 2015 because of disciplinary issues, including missing the team flight to Atlanta for a game against the Falcons. But the 30-year-old could add some experience to the young group of signal callers, and would probably never actually end up playing unless Driskel was injured. Mallet has 5.3 yards per attempt in his career, nine touchdowns, ten interceptions, a 55.1 completion percentage and a 66.8 rating.
The 35-year-old is another experienced option the Bengals could add. The former second round pick started his career as Chad Pennington’s backup with the Jets in 2006, and has moved around to Washington, Houston, St. Louis, and San Diego/Los Angeles. Kellen Clemens has 6.4 career yards per attempt, 16 touchdowns, 21 interceptions, 59.4 completion percentage, and a 68.9 rating.
Even though Austin Davis was by the Boston Red Sox, he opted for a career in the NFL instead, where he went undrafted. Davis is only 29, but has bounced around to six different teams since entering the league in 2012, most notably with the Rams. He does have experience in the AFC North with the Browns, but got benched after his first start when the Browns lost to the Bengals in a 37-3 blowout. Davis has 6.7 yards per attempt, 13 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, a 62.4 completion percentage and a rating of 80.4 in 16 career games.