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Bengals are comfortable with Andy Dalton

Despite some rumors circulating, the Bengals seem happy with Andy Dalton at quarterback.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

The Bengals are in their biggest state of change in 16 seasons, as the team moves on from Marvin Lewis as their head coach, so it is fair for analysts and fans to wonder if we will be seeing a change at quarterback.

Andy Dalton has led this team since he was drafted in 2011, and it has been a roller coaster of a ride. He did lead the Bengals to five straight playoff appearances, but he failed to win any of the four Wild Card games he played in (he hurt his thumb in 2015).

It is something that has been held over his head his entire career, and now, we have endured three straight seasons where the Bengals couldn’t even reach the postseason, which ultimately led to Lewis’ departure. Could Dalton be the next out the door with a new head coach on the way? Duke Tobin says not so fast.

“We’re very comfortable with Andy,” Tobin told Fletcher Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We think he’s got a number of years left. We feel like we can win with him. But with any position group, we don’t just throw away the whole draft board at a group just because we’re satisfied with who we have. We’ll evaluate them and look at them and see if there’s an opportunity to add a guy at every position.”

Tobin’s stance makes a ton of sense at this point in the offseason. First of all, the team is still waiting on their next head coach (Rams’ quarterbacks’ coach Zac Taylor) to join the team. It is pretty easy to imagine that he will have plenty of say in what to do with Dalton and the quarterback position. Of course, Tobin doesn’t close the door on bringing in competition, something we haven’t seen the team really do since Dalton was drafted.

The great thing about Dalton right now is he still has two years left on his contract, and while he is set to make $16.2 million in 2019 and $17.7 million in 2020, his cap hit over those two seasons is one of the lowest of any starting quarterback not on a rookie contract.

It is also insanely valuable that if Cincinnati decided to release or trade Dalton that they wouldn’t get hit with any dead cap. It makes him one of the best bridge quarterbacks the team could have.

Of course, rumors have flown this offseason that the Bengals could bring in a player like Ryan Tannehill to compete or be a bridge quarterback. That could make sense because a team looking for a quality bridge quarterback or even just a veteran they can trust to come in and be ready to play could fall in love with a guy like Dalton. He has two years with almost no commitment, and he has shown he can take a team to the playoffs. Cincinnati could ultimately gain some valuable picks from making such a move, but could they end up using those picks to draft a quarterback from this draft class?

“{This years group of quarterbacks is] interesting,” Tobin said. “It doesn’t appear that there’s going to be a Peyton Manning of the group, but they each have some traits that are interesting. There are some guys with size, there’s some guys that lack size. There’s some guys with arm strength. The thing that we look for more than anything is accuracy and anticipation and I think there are some guys that have that in this draft. But again, it doesn’t look like a top heavy draft at that position right now as we sit here.”

That certainly doesn’t inspire any hope for the Bengals uncharacteristically moving up in order to draft their quarterback of the future this season. There is always the possibility they draft someone in the middle rounds to either develop or have as a backup quarterback.

If we learned anything from last season, it’s that the Bengals could stand to add more talent at the quarterback position in case Dalton goes down. Not that the Bengals season was soaring high already, but if you are banking on your starter playing all 16 games, you are setting yourself up for some heartbreak.

In the end, it makes sense Tobin is comfortable with Dalton right now. He has no reason not to be since Dalton has shown he can perform at a high level, and his contract is very team-friendly.