Andy Dalton’s time in Cincinnati is over after he was cut by the Bengals following failed trade attempts.
Cincinnati took record-breaking college quarterback Joe Burrow with the top overall pick of the 2020 draft prompting Andy Dalton to request his release.
The team have since granted his request and it is reported that he has attracted attention from a number of teams including the New England Patriots.
The Patriots notably are without superstar quarterback Tom Brady who headed for Tampa Bay during this year’s free agency.
While they signed journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer for a third stint in New England, second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham is the favourite to be Brady’s predecessor.
However, as Stidham attempted just four passes during his 2019 campaign, many believe Belichick may take Dalton to “bridge the gap” between the Brady and post-Brady eras.
Here’s why that’s a bad idea….
Dalton’s production is falling
The 32-year-old is far from his best years in the NFL – 2013 saw him throw for 4,293 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Last season? Just 3,494 with 16 touchdowns but 14 interceptions over 13 games after he lost his starting job.
After an 0-8 start to the season, Dalton was benched and the Bengals started rookie quarterback Ryan Finley.
Even though this was short-lived and Andy Dalton’s starter job was restored four games later, he continued to flounder.
This included an ugly loss to New England which saw him throw four of his 14 interceptions that season.
While five seasons ago, he was enjoying a QB rating of 106.2, last year that was down to just 78.3.
Even as a back up to Stidham, the numbers just aren’t pretty and, when they have experienced Patriots back-up Brian Hoyer, doesn’t make sense either.
Money is an issue
Now Andy Dalton is a free agent, he doesn’t carry that $17.7 million cap hit.
But the cash-strapped Patriots would still have to do some cap manoeuvring before next season starts, whenever that may be.
With a cap space of just $1.66 million, they still need space to sign their incoming rookie draft class.
Dalton would need to sign a contract for minimal guaranteed money and instead work on performance based incentives.
Dalton is 32 and coming off the worst season of his career – does he really deserve all the effort New England would have to go to to squeeze him onto the roster?
Signing Andy Dalton could impede Stidham’s confidence
When the Patriots signed Brian Hoyer, it was reportedly on the understanding that Hoyer would be given a shot at the starter job.
Healthy competition between quarterbacks can have huge benefits, motivating players to better themselves for the starting spot.
Shouldering expectation of a fan base which has enjoyed six Super Bowl victories in two decades is a lot for anyone.
By all accounts “Stid the Kid” is ready and able to step into Tom Brady’s gigantic shoes.
Yet having to compete with a seasoned starter like Dalton, even if he’s not in the prime of his career, could prove too intimidating for Stidham.
By not drafting a quarterback, the Patriots indicated they were confidant in Stidham’s ability to lead the team next season.
Hoyer is a beatable rival and an experienced back-up but signing Dalton could send mixed messages to Stidham.
The coronavirus could impact pre-season transition
Brian Hoyer is heading into his third stint at Foxborough and so is obviously familiar with the Patriots way.
Jarrett Stidham is going to be in his second year after backing up one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
With a global pandemic threatening pre-season workouts, Stidham and Hoyer are in a far better position to be prepared for a potentially quick turnaround.
Andy Dalton would have to get up to speed on the Patriots playbook quickly and under exceptional circumstances if he stands a chance at the starting job.
For continuity and familiarity, it would make more sense for the Patriots to stick with what they have at quarterback rather than gamble on Dalton being ready at short notice.
What do you think? Should the Patriots sign Bengals cast-off Andy Dalton?
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