The Cincinnati Bengals are working with Andy Dalton to facilitate a trade, and these five teams could enter the mix to make a deal.
With the No. 1 overall pick in April, it feels like a foregone conclusion the Cincinnati Bengals will draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. That embrace of a new era naturally means leaving the previous era behind, and according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the team is working with Andy Dalton to facilitate a trade to another team “when the time is right.”
Dalton started 13 games last season, around a brief post-bye week turn to overmatched rookie Ryan Finley. Without A.J. Green all season, Dalton threw for 3,494 yards in those 13 games on the worst team in the league. He appears to have something left in the tank, and there should be opportunities out there for him to at least compete for a starting job.
Of course the Bengals can just cut Dalton, and clear his entire $17.5 million salary and $17.7 million cap hit off the books with no ramifications. They surely don’t want to pay him that to be the No. 2 quarterback, so teams with any possible interest could just wait it out. But with the depth of quarterback options out there this offseason, a team that waits too long may be left choosing between holding a bag with Dalton and options they’d rather not turn to.
So the Bengals are in a rare position where they have some leverage to use. They could extract a draft pick from a team that thinks it’ll fail to get the higher profile signal callers who may be available, but yet will be looking for a new quarterback to some degree.
These five teams should have Dalton on their trade radar now, if he wasn’t there before.
5. Los Angeles Chargers
With the official announcement earlier this week they are parting ways with Philip Rivers, the Chargers are in the market for a quarterback, and the possibilities are wide-ranging (if not entirely realistic). Free agency, trades and the draft — with multiple combinations possible within those avenues — should all be on the table for Chargers general manager Tom Telesco as the franchise heads into the post-Rivers era.
The Chargers are not far removed from going 12-4 in 2018. If they bring back free agents Austin Ekeler and Hunter Henry, and make some moves to upgrade the offensive line, the pieces (sans knowing who the quarterback will be) of an offense that could compete for a playoff spot again next season will theoretically be in place. Dalton is serviceable to above-average, and can be raised to a higher level by what’s around him. The Chargers, even if they only want him as a bridge to a rookie like Justin Herbert, can provide a favorable situation to put up numbers next season.