With this year's NFL Draft fast approaching, the Cincinnati Bengals are largely expected to select LSU's Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick, thus allowing them to move on from longtime starting quarterback Andy Dalton. But with several teams upgrading their quarterback rotations since the league's offseason began last month, interest appears to have cooled for the 10-year veteran. However, as a recent report suggested, one team in particular -- the Jacksonville Jaguars -- could benefit from signing Dalton, in the event that Cincinnati decides to release him before the start of the 2020 season.
As pointed out on Monday by Sports Illustrated, the Jaguars' decision to trade their own veteran signal-caller, Nick Foles, to the Chicago Bears has led to rumors that the team might try to acquire Dalton by trading him for a pick in this year's draft. The outlet opined that this is a "misguided" scenario, given that Jacksonville might not want to sacrifice a draft selection for an established starter whose erstwhile team has "given up" on him. As such, Dalton might "make sense" only if the Bengals cut him loose, as this would allow the Jaguars to regain a veteran presence behind the center without having to give up anything in return.
Talking about why Dalton joining the Jaguars as a free agent would be a good idea, Sports Illustrated explained that the team's new offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden, had worked alongside the former Texas Christian University star during their three years together in Cincinnati. From 2011 through 2013, Gruden worked as the Bengals' offensive coordinator and helped ease Dalton into an NFL starting job as the then-youthful quarterback led the team to a combined 30-18 regular-season record during that time span.Additionally, Sports Illustrated stressed that Dalton's presence is needed due to the youth and inexperience of Jacksonville's remaining quarterbacks -- Gardner Minshew II and Josh Dobbs. While Minshew had a successful rookie campaign in 2019, the outlet cautioned that the Jaguars might need a proven backup who could replace him in case he gets injured or if he regresses in his sophomore season.
"While Dalton's days as a long-term starter are likely over, he is an ideal option for a backup passer thanks to his experience and fit in Gruden's offense," the publication wrote.
Prior to the start of the 2020 NFL offseason, the Cincinnati quarterback was linked to a number of rival teams, including the New England Patriots, who lost their six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady when he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month. However, Bleacher Report noted toward the end of March that -- per The Athletic -- Dalton "hasn't been discussed among the Pats' immediate plans."