NFL

Andy Dalton Just Pulled the Classiest Move of All Time

It hasn’t been a good season for Andy Dalton and the Bengals, who didn’t get their first win until Week 13. The season has been particularly tough for Dalton, who was benched for three games due to poor play on the field.

He’s once again been named the starter, though, and the veteran was under center when the Bengals picked up a win against the Jets a few weeks ago. Following the win, Dalton pulled one of the classiest moves you’ll see in the NFL this season.

The Bengals’ struggles in 2019

Rookie head coach Zac Taylor is leading the team after Marvin Lewis was finally relieved of his duties last season. But Taylor hasn’t had a great first season. The Bengals were 0-11 before picking up their first — and so far only — win of the season (the last team to get their first win in 2019).

Cincinnati couldn’t keep up the momentum after the win, as they lost the Browns in Week 14. The Bengals have the 10th worst scoring defense in the league through Week 14. They’ve allowed 325 points, and their defense has given up the second-most yards in the league.

The offense has been even worse, scoring just 15.2 points per game in their first 13 games, which is the second-lowest average in the NFL ahead of just the Redskins. The Bengals’ 19 offensive touchdowns tie with the Redskins for the fewest in the league.

Poor quarterback play in 2019

In 10 starts, Dalton has completed 60% of his passes for 2,757 yards, with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Taylor benched him after the team’s first eight games, with backup Ryan Finley becoming the starter in Week 10, following the team’s bye.

After three disappointing starts where he had two touchdowns and two interceptions — not surpassing 200 passing yards in any game — Taylor gave back the starting job to Dalton. The 32-year-old got a chance for redemption.

In the QB’s first game back as the starter, Dalton led the Bengals to a 22-6 victory over the Jets at home despite throwing just one touchdown pass, with 243 yards through the air. When the Bengals lost to the Browns in Week 14, Dalton threw an interception but didn’t throw a single touchdown pass in the 27-19 loss in Cleveland.

Andy Dalton’s heartwarming gesture

When the Bengals finally got their first win, coach Taylor gave Dalton the game ball. The quarterback then gave the ball back to Taylor as a way of congratulating the first-year coach on his first career win an NFL head coach.

The gesture shows that Dalton is a high-character person who remains classy through thick and thin — even when his team is experiencing the most tumultuous season of his professional career.

Dalton’s future in the NFL

With the 2019 season quickly coming to an end and the Bengals clearly in rebuilding mode, the question turns to Dalton’s future. Next season is the final year of his contract, and he’s due to make $17.5 million in base salary.

The Bengals will likely take a quarterback in the draft — probably with the first overall pick — but they may want Dalton to stick around in 2020 as a mentor to the young quarterback they select. Or they may opt to trade him to a team hoping to add a veteran quarterback.

Dalton will be in the league next season, but it may be with a team other than Cincinnati, where he’s spent his first nine NFL seasons.