For the first time in the three years, someone within the Bengals organization has finally come out and expressed a lack of support for Andy Dalton.
In the next season or two, Dalton, A.J. Green and several other key contributors will be set for big-time contracts. Mike Brown, the Bengals owner, knows that tough decisions will be needed in order to maintain the core of their roster, and it seems as if the first decision is Dalton.
“More often than not you don’t win overpaying a guy,” Brown told Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “With quarterbacks there is another dilemma. With a fixed cap there is a certain amount of money and no more. You allocate that on a quarterback you have less to hand out to everybody else. It can cause attrition. We are going through a difficult time right now because we are trying to work through a deal with Andy and trying to hold back enough money in the cap to do that, yet we don’t know what that is.”
So, if Brown were to let Dalton walk, or at least test the free agent waters next year, then what does he plan to do at the quarterback position instead?
“Do you have a high-priced quarterback and less elsewhere or do you try to have as many guys as you can have and maybe a quarterback that is young and not so highly paid? Seattle, for example of that, “said Brown.” In fact, you look at the statistics it is rather surprising how few quarterbacks that are old in recent years – say over 30 – have won the Super Bowl. They’ve gotten there but they haven’t won it. I don’t know is that better formula to go with a younger guy and spread the money around? That’s a dilemma for us. We are trying to work through it. It’s slow going. I can’t predict when we are going to get that matter resolved.”
As someone who doesn’t have complete confidence in Dalton’s ability to lead a team deep into the playoffs, I respect that Brown is looking at this problem without his orange-tinted shades on. At the same time, if he believes that the formula to success is simply finding an all-pro quarterback, who also happens to be 24 and only costs a couple million dollars, he’s kidding himself.
Yeah, what Seattle accomplished with Russell Wilson was fantastic, but the Bengals are doing the same exact thing at this very moment. Dalton is Wilson. In fact, the Bengals are very close to being Seattle: Tough defense, a young, non-first-round quarterback and a solid running game. The only difference? Dalton isn’t nearly as good as Wilson.
The point is that there is absolutely no sure thing in drafting a quarterback. Everybody wants to find the next Russell Wilson, but most people don’t. Honestly, Brown should feel pretty good about what Dalton has provided over the last few seasons. Cincinnati could have easily walked away with the likes of Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert or Christian Ponder instead.
I understand that Dalton may not be the best option at quarterback in the NFL, but he is far from the worst. Nobody can just forget that Cincinnati has been to the playoffs for three seasons in a row, a franchise best. If there is a better option out there, it isn’t going to come in the form of a insanely talented, yet misevaluated third-round selection.
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