The Cincinnati Bengals are a few short weeks away from making Joe Burrow the first overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft and their new starting quarterback. If that isn’t the worse kept secret surrounding the team right now, it’s the one where the Bengals intending to trade the guy Burrow is replacing, Andy Dalton.
Despite recent difficulties, Dalton has had a lot of success in the NFL and will have a market. Ian Rapoport recently mentioned three specific teams as potential suitors: The Chicago Bears, the New England Patriots, and the Indianapolis Colts.
From our Combine coverage: A look at the Andy Dalton trade market, as the #Bengals work with his agent Jeff Nalley to find a trade partner later in March. Dalton will have options. pic.twitter.com/8TYPwdBUnZ— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 1, 2020
No team that is trading Dalton will not at the very least have him compete for the starting job, and this is certain for two reasons. For starters, Dalton’s $17 million cap hit for the 2020 season is a bit hefty to hide on the bench outright. While it’s on the reasonable side for starting quarterbacks, that’s an investment his new team will want to put to use. Also, The Bengals have made it clear that they would not send him anywhere he doesn’t want to go. Dalton would not want to go anywhere to be a backup.
All three of the aforementioned teams would make good fits for the 32-year old quarterback, but what do they have to offer in return?
A starting quarterback should be able to swing a day two draft pick, but that wasn’t the case for Joe Flacco. The Baltimore Ravens traded their long-time starter for a fourth-round pick roughly this time last year.
That compensation would theoretically be acceptable for Cincinnati, but they should push for a third-round pick.
So, how can each of the three teams mentioned compensate the Bengals?
The Bears were the first team that was mentioned when Dalton was first benched just prior to the trade deadline.
They have limited draft capital—which is bad for obvious reasons—but it does solidify that they’re a franchise that is willing to trade away draft picks.
The Bears don’t have a first-round pick or a third-round pick, but they do have two picks in the second round. They don’t have a fourth-round pick currently, but they are projected to get a compensatory pick located at the end of that round.
That pick could definitely be in play, but as a compensatory pick, it comes at the very end of the round.
The second-round picks seem unlikely. Perhaps if the Bengals threw in a fourth-round pick, they could get one of the Bears’ second-round picks in return. In that case, the compensation for Dalton would essentially be moving them up two rounds.
All in all, I am not sure a deal is going to happen with the Bears. If it is done, it will likely return a low fourth-round pick or worse.
New England Patriots
Obviously if Tom Brady returns, this is all null and void, but you always have to expect the unexpected in Foxborough.
The Patriots have a first-round pick, but no second-round pick. They have a third-round pick, and that’s where things could get interesting. They are projected to get two third-round compensatory picks, giving them three total picks in the third round. They also have the Bears’ fourth-round pick as well.
This could definitely work.
The Patriots might be willing to part with one of their projected compensatory picks. These picks are at the end of the third round, but they are still day two picks.
If Brady departs, the Patriots may be willing to make the deal, but that is a big “if.”
The Bears don’t mind trading picks, but the Colts like their picks. They have all of their original picks, plus an extra second-round pick.
Obviously getting their hands on one of those second-round picks would be a huge win for the Bengals, but it seems unlikely unless other picks were involved.
It may however open up the door for the Colts to part with their third-round pick. After all, they would still have two day two picks.
The Bengals should be trying to pick up another third-round pick in exchange for Dalton, and that seems fair and reasonable. Both the Patriots and the Colts could be in play for that price. Competition between teams could push one to offer a second-round pick, but there is a problem.
The Bengals are working with Dalton to send him somewhere that he wants to go. A class move by the organization, but it likely means no competition for Dalton’s services once he has made up his mind.
This could lower his price tag and result in a mere day three pick.
If this is the case, they need to draw a line in the sand and refuse to budge on getting at least a fourth round pick, using the Flacco trade as president. Honoring Dalton’s wishes can only go so far when thinking about the betterment of the organization.