For all intents and purposes, the Andy Dalton era in Cincinnati is over. Despite his best efforts, the quarterback and his aging roster remain winless into the start of November. Needing a spark, new head coach Zac Taylor has benched Dalton for backup Ryan Finley - but much to Dalton's disgust, held onto him instead of trading him away. The bridge between quarterback and team has been burned, and it seems that next year, Dalton will be in another jersey.
Fortunately, quarterbacks are in higher demand than ever, and Dalton will be no exception come this offseason. Here's where he could end up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another team with a first-year head coach and a less-than-ideal situation at quarterback. Despite Bruce Arians' best efforts to defend him, Jameis Winston is running out of excuses in Tampa Bay, especially on the final year of his contract and playing under a head coach known for his talent at developing quarterbacks. Perhaps Arians would have better luck with Dalton, an inconsistent quarterback who can show flashes of brilliance, and has done so even this season. Dalton leads the NFL with 204 completions.
A playoff-contending team held back by the most important position in the game. The Chicago Bears have a stingy defense capable of stalling some of the most talented offensive attacks in the NFL, and they showed this on Opening Day against the Packers - a game they lost 10-3 due to a poor performance by QB Mitch Trubinsky. Even a supposed "game manager" type of quarterback with a good defense behind him can do just enough to help a team reach the playoffs, but the Bears don't have one. This offseason, they might take the first offer that comes along.
The Bengals could partner up with Tennessee in a like-for-like swap, as the Titans are in a quarterback mess of their own. After throwing the best season of his career last year, Marcus Mariota has fallen out of favor with head coach Mike Vrabel and fallen behind Ryan Tannehill in the depth chart as the Titans try to salvage their playoff hopes. The Titans also possess a top-tier defense - ranked fourth in the league in points allowed - but could use a decent quarterback to make their lives easier in case Tannehill doesn't work out.