Andy Dalton has been with the Cincinnati Bengals for three seasons now. The Bengals have seen enough to make him the cornerstone of their offense.
Dalton, starting his fourth year since being drafted from Texas Christian University, signed a contract extension that should keep him in Bengal stripes until 2020, according to the New York Times. Dalton says he is relieved the deal has been completed before the start of the regular season.
According to CBS Sports, Dalton will get a $12 million signing bonus and $17 million in guaranteed money. All of the fully guaranteed money comes in the first year of the deal. Dalton will make $18 million guaranteed this season and $22 million by February.
The trade-off is that Dalton will get an opportunity to maximize his salary over the length of this contract with incentives and goals written into the contract. Also, the Bengals will have an “out”, since all guaranteed money is at the front end of the contract, the Bengals can release Dalton later in the contract depending on what they think they need.
Dalton has passed for more than 3,000 yards in each of his three seasons. He led the Bengals to an 11-5 record in 2013, setting a career high with 33 touchdown passes. His 20 interceptions were also a career high. The Bengals are rewarding Dalton for his steady improvement over his first three seasons, tied with great regular-season team success. He’s compiled a 30-18 record starting every game and helping them get three consecutive playoff berths.
Despite all of his regular-season success, Dalton has been criticized for throwing six interceptions with one touchdown in three playoff losses, and much was tied to the shaky play of Dalton. Last year, as AFC North champions hosting San Diego, the Bengals were routed, 27-10. Dalton (29-of-51, 334 yards, TD, 2 INTs, 3 sacks, fumble lost) struggled mightily as Cincinnati’s offense disappeared, according to the Sporting News.
The contract makes sense for both sides. The Bengals lock up a dependable, steady quarterback for six more years. Dalton is considered a second tier quarterback, and was compensated as such. That perception will change if and when Dalton is able to win playoff games. Until then, the percentage of his contract that is guaranteed will remain under 20 percent, unlike established quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rogers. The bottom line is that the Bengals are happy with Dalton as their quarterback, but do expect much more in the future.