Bengals QB Andy Dalton's Contract Extension Actually Makes Sense
It was around 9:30 a.m. Monday morning, and I was hanging around the south end zone of the Texans' practice field, sweating profusely, watching the team practice with about a dozen other fellow media members, when my phone vibrated.
Big deal for Big Red.
I looked down and there it was, courtesy of the "PUSH" function of the CBS Sports app:
"The Bengals and QB Andy Dalton have agreed to a six year, $115 million extension, according to sources."
The words hung there in cyber space, and taking them at face value (which inexplicably all of us do when it comes to these NFL contracts, even though they are literally NEVER nearly as good as they appear upon initial report), if I actually gave two shits about the Cincinnati Bengals, it would have felt like watching a friend enter into a marriage where you're a thousand percent positive he's not in love, but he's just getting married because he's afraid he'll never find anyone else.
That's Andy Dalton. The average wife, the 40 degree day, walking purgatory.
And $115 million richer than me. At least according to reports. Let's dig in and see what this thing is really worth, shall we?
For most of this offseason, speculation abounded as to whether the Bengals would put a figurative ring on Dalton's finger in the form of a second contract. Chatter only intensified when fellow 2011 second round pick Colin Kaepernick inked his extension several weeks ago with the San Francisco 49ers.
For his part, like Kaepernick, Dalton has been a fixture in the postseason since entering the league three years ago. The TCU product has taken the Bengals to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons in the league, becoming one of only five quarterbacks in league history to accomplish that feat.
Dalton's also won 30 regular season games, becoming the first Bengal quarterback to do so over any three season period in the franchise's history. In 2013, he led the Bengals to a 4-0 record against teams that eventually made the playoffs, after going 0-7 against such teams in his rookie year in 2011 (and 2-2 in 2012).
This is the good.
Now, Dalton has also seen his interception total rise in each of his three seasons, from 13 as a rookie to 16 in 2012 to 20 last season. Also, in those three playoff appearances, he's been abysmal, throwing six interceptions against just one touchdown with a dismal passer rating in the mid 50's.
In short, the Bengals haven't just lost playoff games with Andy Dalton playing quarterback -- they've lost playoff games because Andy Dalton was playing quarterback.
This is the bad.
All along, my contention with Andy Dalton is that he is the absolute worst kind of quarterback that an NFL team can have -- just good enough to fool you into thinking you have "the guy" and just bad enough to keep your team from getting over the hump. More importantly, he's just good enough to where you have to commit to him in some fashion financially because he's one of about 20 men on earth who can play quarterback in the NFL competently for extended periods.
Which brings us to this contract.