The market for experienced and decent NFL quarterbacks has bottomed out. Jameis Winston signed for a ham sandwich. Cam Newton and Joe Flacco are still looking to be picked up and taken to a job site. And now Andy Dalton is also among the ranks with packed suitcases and, well, limited options.
Cincinnati releasing Dalton means the Bengals are officially Joe Burrow's team. It also frees up $17.7 million for the Cats to maneuver. The Red Rifleman's potenital suitors are easy to identify, while their interest is tougher to quantify.
Mitch Trubisky is not the long-term answer. Management has not been eager to say that out loud, for obvious reasons. Nick Foles won a Super Bowl and is a recent addition but his ceiling came crashing down in Jacksonville. A sober-minded person could look at Dalton and identify him as the superior talent, yet logistical and sunk-cost obstacles make this a longer shot.
Dalton previously worked with Jay Gruden. Gardner Minshew showed flashes and could use someone to push him in competition. Current backup Josh Dobbs is not going to do that and Dalton is not going to cause a huge controversy if he wins the starting job as he's not the forever solution anyway.
New England Patriots
The traditionally rich franchise is cash-poor right now, so Dalton would have to take a significant hair cut to make it work. The Patriots have, to this point, looked at Cam Newton and decided to stand pat with Jarrett Stidham. That could be the surest indication they were waiting for Dalton. Operating under the watch of a champion would be an attractive offer for a guy who has known an awful lot of losing.