Will they, or won’t they? It’s a dramatic trope as old as romantic media itself. When two people seem destined to be together, but are kept apart because of forces out of their control, the audience become captivated.
Andy Dalton and the New England Patriots seem like the unlikeliest pairing to fit in this style of narrative, but it’s starting to become a partnership everyone and their mother is shipping.
This all started last week when former NFL linebacker Bart Scott appeared on ESPN’s Get Up and the topic of identifying Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady’s successor came up. Scott labeled Dalton, of all quarterbacks, as his choice for simple and unconvincing reasons.
The conversation faded for a few days, but was brought back to life today when Ben Volin of The Boston Globe and Peter King of NBC Sports named dropped Dalton as a sensible Brady replacement.
.@BartScott57: "I think Andy Dalton’s the guy I would go with because he has experience in the AFC”@BenVolin: Would love to see Andy Dalton w/ the Pats@peter_king: "I think Belichick would really like to work with Andy Dalton because Andy Dalton is a football player" https://t.co/rOldZIfPDi— OMF (@OMFonWEEI) January 9, 2020
When one person says it, it’s no big deal. When multiple people start saying it, it’s still no big deal, but it’s easier to make it seem like one; especially when the discussion is purely conjecture and not based on any tangible rumors.
But when a guy like King speaks up, people listen and take his words for what they’re worth. Here’s the video interview and an excerpt where King explains his reasoning:
“I think Bill Belichick would really like to work with Andy Dalton because Andy Dalton is a football player, you know? He’s not Tom Brady. He’s not gonna go down in the pantheon, I get it,” King said. “I think Andy Dalton would be a very compelling guy to either be their quarterback for a while or to be their bridge guy to the next quarterback or to take Jarrett Stidham under his wing as Brady did some this year and make the best of Jarrett Stidham for 2021 and beyond.”
The shock value here is understandable. The greatest dynasty in modern sports going from the most successful quarterback in NFL history to a quarterback who collapses in meaningful games is quite the transition to comprehend. This is even harder to process when you consider how prepared the Patriots usually are for compensating for impending roster holes are how efficient they are at filling them on the fly.
Replacing Brady, however, will be a unique experience for an organization that usually has things fall into their lap. It won’t likely be an easy venture and believe it or not, acquiring Dalton could very well become one of their (relatively) better options.
The man ultimately making this decision will be head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick, whom Shannon Sharpe believes will be enticed at the opportunity to get the most out of Dalton:
.@ShannonSharpe on if Belichick could win a Super Bowl with Andy Dalton:— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) January 9, 2020
"I believe he could. I believe that he believes he could because Coach Belichick believes he can take a guy and get the best out of him." pic.twitter.com/bPttWOf2ae
While all of this is a very innocent scenario to discuss, it’s based on two other soon-to-be realities. The Bengals are going to be shopping Dalton, and the Patriots will be looking at options beyond re-signing Brady. When this year’s ferocious quarterback carousel takes off, all bets are off.
Our only question is: how can you make sure something gets spoken into existence?