The Cincinnati Bengals finally benched quarterback Andy Dalton after years of struggling to get the team to glory. To some, that is Dalton’s fault, and with a proper quarterback, the team would have seen greater success. Others, however, could see this benching as a blessing in disguise. The Bengals are notoriously poorly-run franchise which, to them, has held Dalton back since the beginning. With the Cincinnati era over, perhaps Dalton could find a new life somewhere else. It won’t happen in 2019 as the trade deadline already passed, but Dalton could land on his feet elsewhere in 2020.
Andy Dalton’s career
Dalton came into the league in 2011. While his stats could often keep him from being at the top of the league, he kept the Bengals afloat for many years. The team boasted a .500 record in each of his first five seasons with the team, and the quarterback was good for winning performance and decent stats in any given season. While the Bengals may not have been contenders, Dalton kept the franchise from disaster during his tenure.
Recently, Dalton struggled to keep the team winning, although the results before the 2019 season were never catastrophic. Dalton’s worst full season as the Bengals quarterback in terms of wins and losses was a 6-9-1 season 2016, a year that he still made the Pro Bowl after throwing 18 touchdowns to only eight interceptions.
To date, Dalton has a 68-58-2 record as a quarterback. He completes 62.2% of his passes, has thrown for 197 touchdowns against 112 interceptions, and while he may not have always won in the prettiest of ways, he kept a struggling franchise afloat for nearly a decade. At just 32 years old, the 0-9 start by the Bengals in 2019 is not an indictment of Dalton’s play, but it could be a cause for concern.
Other teams would be foolish, however, to count out Andy Dalton. As many teams struggle at the quarterback position, a reliable presence like Dalton in a good system could use Dalton’s talents, and these would have been the best landing spots for the quarterback.
4. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos have a quarterback problem after Joe Flacco went down and Drew Lock continues to recover from his injuries. Should Dalton and the Bengals part ways, the Broncos could insert Dalton as a reliable veteran presence. With the trade deadline past, the team will have to hope that Brandon Allen can show the promise he did after his first start for an extended period. If Lock is a concern and Flacco doesn’t prove his worth, then Dalton could be a good replacement in the offseason.
3. Tennessee Titans
With Marcus Mariota on the bench and Ryan Tannehill failing to perform, the 4-5 Titans could have used Dalton this season as a reliable presence to lead the offense. If Tannehill doesn’t work out and Mariota isn’t the answer, the team could regret not swinging for a player like Dalton and could do well bringing him in this offseason.
2. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are 1-7, with their single victory coming as a shock to the entire NFL. The team took a chance on Josh Rosen, who struggled to do even the bare minimum to keep the Dolphins afloat. Miami’s other quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick, a 37-year-old journeyman who has nearly matched every touchdown he’s thrown with an interception. They may have missed their chance on Andy Dalton this year, but he could be a viable option for the team going into next year.
1. Chicago Bears
Mitch Trubisky was once the sign of hope for the Bears, but he has struggled mightily this season. Because of that, the team is likely to look at another quarterback going forward. Tom Brady to the Bears is a rumor making the rounds, but if that doesn’t happen, then a seasoned veteran like Dalton could be an excellent short-term option for the team in the future, even if they missed their chance this season. He provides leadership, a good arm, and consistent play that a team like the Bears who are on the cusp could desperately use.
The Bengals 0-9 start in 2019 is more of a product of the organization than of Andy Dalton’s struggles. His career in Cincinnati is likely over, but his value in the league could remain if he finds the right spot. It all depends on who is willing to give the Red Rifle another shot.