There has been a pretty consensus knowledge that Cincinnati would either trade or release their veteran quarterback this offseason. He carried a cap hit of $17.7 million into 2020 on the last year of his contract, and the Bengals could release him without and cap penalties. The cap space created by releasing Dalton was needed to help sign rookie contracts as well as sign extensions with A.J. Green and Joe Mixon.
Dalton had the most prolific passing career of any Bengal. He ranks at the top or near the top of every major passing record for the franchise. He ranked first in passing touchdowns (204) and second in passing yards (31,594). This doesn’t even account for all the work Dalton did off the field to help the Cincinnati area. He was absolutely a franchise quarterback that any team should be happy to have had.
The elephant in the room is simply that the Bengals were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to draft a quarterback that can everyone on offense better in Joe Burrow. There was also some cracks in the relationship when head coach Zac Taylor benched Dalton hours before the trade deadline for rookie Ryan Finley, which signaled that the veteran probably wasn’t part of the franchises plans going forward.
It also needs to be noted that a trade was likely ruled out with how populated this offseason was with available quarterbacks. Whether it be in the draft, free agency or other teams willing to take less for their veteran quarterback. The fact they weren’t able to move him during the draft seemed to indicate it was going to be up to Dalton whether he wanted to stay and restructure his contract or hit the open market.
There is also no denying that Dalton was a very polarizing player over his tenure in Cincinnati. He seamlessly transitioned from a rough end to the Carson Palmer era as a second round pick in 2011, and led the team to five straight playoff appearances (only playing in four). The fact he went 0-4 in the playoffs has always rubbed the fan base the wrong way, and as the extremely talented 2015 fell apart more limitations in Dalton’s play became clear. The offensive line deteriorated, and the pressure kept getting to Dalton quicker and quicker. The fact that he offensive weapons and coaching were questionable the last few years also didn’t help put his best foot forward.
Dalton still absolutely deserves a proper send off by fans as his era was overwhelmingly a positive one when you consider everything he did on and off the field. He should absolutely be one of the top backup quarterbacks on the market with Cam Newton. Don’t be surprised if he ends up with a team that either uses him as a bridge quarterback to start while they develop a younger player, or a very talented veteran player sitting behind a struggling player. No one should be surprised to see him finding success somewhere else in the NFL either. Especially if he finds a good situation.
What do you think about the Bengals granting Dalton’s request?
Do you approve of the Bengals releasing Andy Dalton?
This poll is closed
I wish he would’ve stayed to mentor/compete with Burrow
It was the right thing to do after all he did/endured with the franchise
I don’t really care. I’m just looking forward to the Joe Burrow era