The Bengals benching Andy Dalton goes beyond just this season.
Dalton has just one year left on his contract and was essentially playing for an extension next offseason. Sitting at 0-8 and at the bottom of most quarterback metrics, the ninth-year quarterback has not only played himself out of a job in Cincinnati this year, but maybe altogether.
With this decision, the Bengals may’ve declared to the NFL that they’re done with Dalton entirely. The most likely outcome at this point seems to be the Bengals releasing Dalton next offseason before they draft his replacement.
But what if they decide to trade him? Here are four teams that would surely be interested in Dalton’s services right now.
This one’s rather obvious. Bears’ quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has severely underperformed in his third year and at 3-4, Chicago should be desperate to turn their season around. They disposed quite a bit of draft capital when they traded for Khalil Mack and are reasonably in win-now mode. Head coach Matt Nagy declared Trubisky the starter for Week 9 before Dalton was benched, maybe his thoughts change with Dalton potentially on the market.
This week, the Broncos plan to start Brandon Allen against the Browns. If you don’t know who that is, no one is blaming you. Their starter, Joe Flacco, could be out for the next month due to a neck injury and at 2-6 in a weak division, they may not be ready to give up. Dalton wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over Flacco but he surely could give them a better chance at winning than Allen could.
This would make more sense if Jay Gruden didn’t already get fired, but Washington’s quarterback situation hasn’t exactly improved since he left. Case Keenum has been solid but nowhere near good enough and Dwayne Haskins simply isn’t ready. This team isn’t going anywhere this year, but Dalton could give them some stability in figuring out where their roster is at if they aren’t satisfied enough with Keenum.
Having already benched their quarterback this year, the Titans are currently starting Ryan Tannehill, who has looked fine for all intents and purposes. At 4-4, the Titans are very much in the AFC South race and while they could be content with Tannehill, the option of bringing in Dalton to compete shouldn’t be ruled out. With Marcus Mariota’s contract expiring at the end of this season, Dalton could give them a veteran quarterback for next year to potentially mentor a rookie they may draft,