By Mark Sloan: The Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is hopeful that the Bengals management will be able to wrap up a deal that keeps quarterback Andy Dalton with the team, but right now it’s unclear whether that’s going to happen or not. The Bengals are in a situation where they’re almost forced to give Dalton a huge money contract to be their starter due to the huge contract that was given to Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler during the off season.
Cutler put up pretty much the same stats that Dalton did last season, and he’s been more or less the same type quarterback as him in terms of stats in the last 3 seasons. The Bears decided they liked Cutler enough to give him a new 7-year, $126.7 million contract with $54 million in guaranteed money. To say it was a stupid move on the Bears part is putting it mildly, but that’s on them. But now Cutler’s contract has sent shockwaves to other teams in the league, as they’re now under pressure to give huge contracts to their good but hard great quarterbacks.
“I’m hopeful, you know?” Lewis told Sports Illustrated. “I know he would like to get it done and I know we’d like to get it done, and just hopefully we can get by that deal with my man, Cutler in Chicago and we can all get something everybody likes.”
Dalton completed 61.9 percent of his passes in 2013 for 4,293 yards with a passing rating of 88. Those decent numbers, but not upper level stats for a quarterback in the league and definitely not at the level where you want to pay him $18 million per season like Cutler is being given for his good but not great play. Dalton has failed the Bengals in three consecutive playoff games, and he’s not played well in any of those games. Besides that, he’s been inconsistent throughout his three seasons in the NFL, and you can’t have that from a starting quarterback, especially if they want big money to stay with the team.
The Bengals owner Mike Brown would be better off going with rookie AJ McCarron as the team’s quarterback after Dalton finishes out his final season with the Bengals, unless Dalton is willing to play for $12 million per season, which is arguably what he deserves as a 2nd tier quarterback. 1st tier quarterbacks get between $18-20 million per season. But 2nd tier QBs, get between $8-16 million per season. McCarron is more than good enough to put up the same, if not better, numbers as Dalton on his low cost rookie contract. The smart move would be for the Bengals to let Dalton walk after 2014.