Bengals reportedly willing to listen to Andy Dalton trade offers ahead of free agency
Given the crowded quarterback market, Dalton seems more likely to be released eventually
The Cincinnati Bengals are widely expected to select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft. He'll be their quarterback for the foreseeable future, which means that Andy Dalton has no real role in the team's plans going forward.
Pretending that Dalton will be on the Bengals next season benefits no one, including the Bengals, and so on Saturday ESPN's Josina Anderson reported that Cincinnati is open to listening to trade offers for the veteran passer.
Dalton is under contract for the 2020 season, during which he is scheduled to draw a base salary of $17.5 million. He also has a $200,000 workout bonus. So, any team that trades for him would be absorbing a $17.7 million cap hit onto its books, assuming Dalton attends offseason workouts -- if they actually happen.
Given the crowded quarterback market this offseason, with Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater, and more set to hit the market, plus Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jordan Love likely to be selected early in the draft, it seems fairly unlikely that a team will be willing to surrender all that much in the way of draft capital or quality players in exchange for Dalton. That's especially true because teams know the Bengals can release him with zero dead money on their books, and they could then just try to sign him in free agency, perhaps for less than $17.7 million.
The only way the Bengals are likely to find a trade for Dalton is if multiple teams miss out on their free agent targets and find themselves staring at Dalton as the only realistic option. Given the sheer volume of available quarterbacks, though, such a scenario seems unlikely. More likely is that the Bengals shop him around during the so-called legal tampering period, come away with no deal, and then cut him loose as a favor to a longtime starter who would presumably want to pick his next destination early in free agency rather than over the summer, when opposing teams will have already signed and/or drafted players at the position.
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