Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been benched for the first time in his NFL career and his time with the organization seems to be nearing the end.
Through eight games this season, no quarterback in the NFL has been sacked more than Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals’ offensive line has been terrible this year and it’s no surprise that Dalton and the rest of the team’s offense has struggled in 2019.
Now, in what seems like the team waving the white flag and giving up hope on their longtime quarterback, Cincinnati announced this week that Dalton has been benched and rookie Ryan Finley will get the start under center during the team’s next game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10.
Let’s not act like the 0-8 Bengals have been anything but unimpressive with Dalton as their starter this season. However, throwing a rookie out there behind an awful offensive line doesn’t seem like a solution to Cincinnati’s long list of problems either.
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Whatever happens from this decision, the writing seems to be on the wall for Dalton’s tenure with the Bengals coming to an end.
The veteran quarterback was already set to enter the final year of his contract in 2020, but now it seems like he might not even make it until then. Cincinnati can choose to cut him during the upcoming offseason without having to deal with any sort of dead cap, per Spotrac, and it appears like a choice that they’re likely going to make.
But is this the right choice? The Bengals are probably going to select a quarterback in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft and he might not be ready to play immediately.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea to keep Dalton around through 2020 to help the rookie passer with his development? Say what you will about Dalton’s amount of success in the NFL, but the guy has been in the league long enough to build a wealth of knowledge that can be helpful to a young quarterback.
This outcome may seem like the path for Cincinnati to take next year, but it’s one that Dalton must agree to as well. Since he’s only 32 years old, he is still probably going to want another opportunity to be a starter in 2020. If the Bengals can’t guarantee that, then Dalton may ask to be traded or released so that he can sign elsewhere.
The NFL is always full of quarterback-needy teams, so it’s not crazy to think that some organization would take a chance on Dalton if he becomes available during the upcoming offseason. Whoever he plays for in 2020 though, his career with Cincinnati seems to be approaching the end sooner than later.