Joe Burrow has finally said he would play for the Bengals if they draft him, contrary to popular belief.
So now that that question is settled, and the Bengals are more likely than not to draft him, that leads to another question: what will the Bengals do with Andy Dalton?
If the Bengals draft Burrow first overall, does Dalton sit on the bench? What about his $17 million salary he is expected to earn in 2020?
The obvious answer is to make another team pay his salary. They would also be receiving his services, but the Bengals won’t use them anyways.
Paul Dehner Jr. of the Athletic reported that there is some outside interest for a trade.
“The first and most obvious is the Bears, who have been in touch with the Bengals on the topic. If looking to give ‘competition’ to Mitch Trubisky, Dalton would be just that. His contract is a decent number, but it’s digestible when you have Trubisky still on a rookie deal.”
Trubisky is on the last year of his contract, so this year could be an audition for both him and Dalton. Whichever quarterback they like better gets a long-term deal, and the other walks.
Since they don’t have much draft capital after trading for the pick they used on Trubisky and for Khalil Mack, they are going to have trouble drafting a franchise quarterback. While Dalton is 32 years old, he still has more years ahead of him than other free agents like Tom Brady and Philip Rivers. If the Bears want to rebuild their offense, they may believe Dalton gives them their best shot.
Lindsay Jones of the Athletic spoke with an NFL GM, who said that “Dalton could command a second or third-round pick in trade compensation.”
“The only problem being Chicago doesn’t have many draft assets,” Dehner wrote. “They have picks at 43 and 50 and nothing else before 162. They’d prefer to call the Bengals’ bluff knowing the club would eventually have to release Dalton to avoid taking on his contract. Having another team in a bidding war for a trade would drive up the price and take waiting it out off the table.”
Dehner also thinks there could be another trade partner if the Bears decide not to fork over the picks.
“The Patriots would be looking for a bridge quarterback and an intelligent football junkie with a history of winning games with quality defenses helping to support him is a logical fit.”
The Patriots have three third round picks and are known to be aggressive traders. While a match with them isn’t as obvious, it looks just as likely after a second glance.