The finances of the quarterback market have changed since Andy Dalton signed his current deal, but the Cincinnati Bengals are in no rush on an extension.
Each time an NFL quarterback signs a new contract, he becomes the highest-paid player and the position and sets a new bar. Kirk Cousins currently holds that spot, but Aaron Rodgers is in line to usurp him. Andy Dalton is entering the fourth year of a new six-year deal he signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014, which reflected a far different quarterback market at an average of $16 million per year.
The Bengals are notoriously stingy financially. They have Dalton locked in at a low-end of the veteran starting quarterback market salary for 2018, after which any dead money attached to cutting him disappears. If he plays out his current deal in Cincinnati, Dalton will hit the open market at 33 years old heading toward his age-34 season.
With those three years left on his deal, and a base salary of $13.7 million this year, the Bengals are in no hurry to extend or re-do Dalton’s contract. Bengals Vice President Troy Blackburn addressed it specifically, via the team’s website.
We didn’t sign the Andy Dalton deal because we thought it was a good deal. At the time it was an expensive deal. It was a heavy lift,v“We did it because Andy was a winning starting quarterback in the National Football League, he had demonstrated that… We are certainly aware quarterback deals have evolved since then. We know that at the right time we will have to evolve as well. We don’t think this is the time right now. What we are going to focus on right now is building the best team for 2018 we possibly can.
After setting career-highs in passer rating (106.2), yards per attempt (8.4) and completion percentage (66.1 percent) in 2015, Dalton declined by all three measures in each of the last two seasons. Absorbing a total of 80 sacks behind a talent-deficient offensive line over that time hasn’t helped, but Dalton invites easy criticism alongside head coach Marvin Lewis as the Bengals have missed the playoffs in back-to-back years.
He or his agent don’t seem be doing so, but Dalton is no position to clamor for a new contract right now. So, for once the Bengals look shrewd, instead of stubborn and unwilling to adjust to an ever-changing market.