After a string of three abysmal playoff performances, the future of Andy Dalton’s career has been questioned by nearly everyone. This weekend Dalton looked dreadful as he threw two picks and ended with a total QBR of 14.2 in the Bengals’ loss to the sixth-seeded Chargers. Even though the blame for the Bengals’ playoff failures can and should be distributed throughout the team and organization, Dalton’s six interceptions and only one touchdown in three crucial playoff games cannot be defended.
Fortunately for Dalton, it doesn’t seem like everyone is ready to push him out the door. According to Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Coach Marvin Lewis told Dalton that he continues to have faith in him and expects him to be with the Bengals for a long time.
The truth is, for as unreliable as Dalton has been over his first three years in the NFL, the Bengals really don’t have another viable option. Unless they trade up, Cincinnati will be picking 24th in the draft this next spring, which would put them out of contention for any of the elite talents. Even if they did take a quarterback in the draft, it would be unlikely that they could exceed Dalton’s capabilities during their first season. If the Bengals decide to look at free agency or a trade instead, their options would be the likes of Michael Vick, Josh Freeman or maybe a Kirk Cousins. Again, while a new face may please the fans at first, there is no guarantee that any of these potential quarterbacks would be better than Dalton.
Next year, Dalton will be going into the final year of his rookie deal, where he is expected to make just south of $1 million. That contract allows the team to focus on strengthening the rest of the roster, as opposed to using more money on another quarterback who is just as likely to bust as Dalton. What the Bengals will most likely do is follow the route taken by the Ravens and Bears and let Dalton play out his final year in order to earn a new contract.
With that being said, it is Coach Lewis who really should be watching his back. After spending 11 years with the organization and winning four AFC North titles, Lewis has never won a playoff game. If he manages to maintain his position heading into next season, it will undoubtedly come with a short leash. Changes are definitely coming in Cincinnati; just don’t expect it to be the quarterback.
–If you want to check out who deserved the positive attention from Sunday’s loss, CLICK HERE.