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For the first nine years of his career, Andy Dalton was locked in as the surefire starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. His quality of play merited that status for most of that time, but a decline toward the end of his tenure coupled with the Bengals landing the No. 1 overall pick in the draft the same year Joe Burrow was coming out of college meant the end of Dalton's time in Cincinnati. 

Since then, Dalton has bounced around as a backup and part-time starter. First, he signed on to be Dak Prescott's backup in Dallas, only to be thrust into a starting role when Dak dislocated his ankle. Then, Dalton signed to ostensibly be the starter for the Bears, but they traded up to select Justin Fields in the draft, meaning Dalton's tenure was sure to be limited -- and that's exactly what happened. Last offseason, he signed with the Saints to compete with Jameis Winston. Winston was initially named the starter, but Dalton played well filling in for Winston when the latter was injured, and he kept the job through the rest of the season. 

This offseason, the Saints moved on to Derek Carr, so Dalton was again looking for a new landing spot. He signed with the Carolina Panthers in free agency. Carolina had traded up from No. 9 to the No. 1 overall pick in the draft a few days earlier, so it's highly likely that Dalton knew he was again signing on to be a backup -- this time to Bryce Young

But Dalton doesn't think he's a backup-caliber player. "I view myself as a starter in this league; I don't think there are 32 guys better than me," Dalton said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "But this is the situation I am in, and I understand that. As soon as I don't think I'm one of the best 32, or a little lower, I'll be watching football on TV."

Dalton felt comfortable taking that role in Carolina in large part because of the coaches he'd be joining. 

"I am in a really, really good situation here; Frank Reich played til he was 38. He was a career backup," Dalton said. "He understands the continuity you want in a (quarterback) room. Josh McCown played until he was 40. Josh was my friend for the last 10 years, and now he's my coach."

Now heading into his age-36 season and what will be his 13th year in the league, Dalton has a bit more nuanced of a perspective on how he might be viewed, even if he thinks his quality of play merits a larger role. 

"I look back at the last couple of years and some of the situations didn't turn out the way I would have liked," Dalton said. "Last year, I felt personally I felt I played good football, but we didn't win as many games and that is the most important thing. I have confidence in who I am as a player. Not a lot of people can say, 'This is Year 13 in the NFL.' I feel good about where I am. It's fun to be in this position, to help the next generation of quarterbacks."