So Andy Dalton becomes the next quarterback to get that massive new contract, as the Cincinnati Bengals believe he is their franchise quarterback for years to come, although everything we’ve seen from him in playoff time leads us to believe this is one big mistake.
Dalton signed a six-year, $115 million extension that keeps him with the Bengals, who he has been playing for since 2011, leading the team into the postseason all three seasons, until 2020. Obviously, with the salary cap rising, deals like this seem less and less massive each time, and yet committing so much money to a quarterback who has failed to perform under the pressure and the bright lights of the playoffs raises a question or two.
Dalton is a solid regular season quarterback, who has done well behind a very good offensive line, a good running game and being helped by one of the best defenses in the NFL. However, this kind of contract puts more pressure on him than ever before. He is no longer a guy who got picked in the second round of the draft, coming out of TCU. He is now a franchise quarterback who needs to deliver for a team with very high expectations.
Before Dalton, the Bengals made the playoffs only twice in 20 years. Since Dalton became the team’s starting quarterback, regardless of how much his contribution led to that success, the Bengals have gone 30-18. They’ve also been knocked out of the postseason on the first game in all three visits. Dalton has thrown just one touchdown pass in the three losses, throwing six interceptions in comparison.
According to rumors, the deal will be very similar to the one Colin Kaepernick signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Meaning? While it does yield a big pay day, it’s still very team centric and revolves around bonuses. The Bengals can see how well this goes and might part ways with Dalton if things don’t progress as planned. With their ability to keep their defensive players happy while not spending too much money becoming difficult, it’s time for Dalton to take the next step.
Maybe the extension should have come a year later, once his $5.2 million, four-year rookie deal expired. However, teams are afraid of the Joe Flacco situation: The Ravens didn’t come to terms with the quarterback in time and had to pay too much money after he led them to the Super Bowl. A good quarterback, but a $20 million a year one? Last year didn’t seem like it, and the Bengals hope that their decision to move quickly will result in success and not similar disappointment.