Cincinnati Bengals 26 year-old quarterback, Andy Dalton, spoke with the media before entering Paul Brown Stadium for the start of the voluntary offseason program Monday afternoon. The usually serene Dalton was much more outspoken during his first real offseason encounter with the media; understandably so. Almost any quarterback in the league would speak their truth, if they were unsure about their future with their current team.
Heading into his fourth season at the helm of Cincinnati’s offseason, Dalton has already led the franchise to the most consecutive playoff appearances in franchise history. Given the estimated $1.3 million per year Dalton has made in that time span, there is no doubt the second round quarterback’s performance has superseded his salary bracket. So when asked if he feels he is the face of Cincinnati’s franchise along with wide receiver AJ Green, Dalton confidently responded “I do.” As to why he is so confident, the Texas native told the media, “what everybody here has told me, is that.”
Though the owner (Mike Brown) and head coach (Marvin Lewis) have both referred to Andy Dalton as their franchise’s quarterback, we have yet to receive any confirmation that the team wants to keep him for another five years or so. In fact, there has been reports that the team has reached out to some quarterbacks in this year’s draft about being Dalton’s replacement. To that ESPN’s draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. told Cincinnati Bengals reporter Coley Harvey,” Helping out Dalton ought to be the focus, rather than trying to find his succesor.”
It was obvious the TCU graduate feels he deserves a “face of the franchise”type of extension when he told reporters, “Its a quarterback-driven league.” He then said, “For a lot ofthese quarterbacks, you’re the face of the franchise. So these teams obviously believe in their guy and they’re going to pay him that way.”
The Bengals have to address the contracts of arguably their three best players. Andy Dalton, AJ Green, and Vontaze Burfict. Teammate Domata Peko, the defensive lineman Cincinnati recently gave a two year extension, feels all three players have earned big extensions. “Andy, AJ and Vontaze, man, they deserve to be paid,” That may be easier said than done. These three guys will command huge contracts on the market when their contracts are up. Ultimately, Cincinnati may only be able to afford to keep two of them, given the $24.3 million they have left under the NFL’s new salary cap. Keep in mind that Andy Dalton is projected to warrant about $15 million per year on his next deal.
Dalton said he and his representatives presented the Bengals’ executives with comparisons of himself to some other NFL quarterbacks when discussing the type of contract he feels he deserves. The main comparison being, what he has accomplished in his first three years versus what some other guys who make good money did. Referring to the before mentioned, three consecutive playoff appearances. Along with the records he broke in 2013: most passing yards in a season, and most passing touchdowns in a season.
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