Now that Andy Dalton is officially a free agent, the prognostication about where he will end up has begun. Released on Thursday by the Cincinnati Bengals, one of the team’s insiders believes Dalton’s most likely landing spot is the Jacksonville Jaguars, though the New England Patriots are supposed contenders as well.
The Athletic‘s Paul Dehner Jr. covers the team for the publication and posted on Twitter that he believes Dalton will likely be a member of the Jaguars when the smoke clears. The analyst put together a short ranking of the most logical places the former Bengals quarterback would go — and that list was just two teams long.
Number one was Jacksonville and number two was New England. Number three on the analyst’s list was just a question mark.
This isn’t the first time Dalton has been mentioned alongside the Patriots. Rumors began flowing earlier this winter that Dalton would end up in New England amid speculation that Tom Brady wouldn’t be returning. When Brady made it official, those rumors grew louder.
On Thursday, The Inquisitr reported talk of Dalton going to the Patriots started up once again. The Pats were expected to select a potential heir apparent to Brady in this month’s NFL draft but didn’t end up taking any quarterbacks. The team did end up signing two UDFAs to the position, but some around the league still think head coach Bill Belichick won’t settle for who is currently in the quarterback room.
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Earlier this winter, the Jaguars cleared the way for Gardner Minshew to be their starting QB, having started for the team in the second half of last season. Although Nick Foles began 2019 as someone the Jags hoped would lead them back to playoffs, an injury and subsequent ineffectiveness lost him the starting job. Foles was traded to the Chicago Bears earlier this spring.
Multiple reports had the Bengals and Jaguars bidding against each other with the Bears, as both were trying to unload high-priced veteran quarterbacks. In the end, the Jags’ asking price was a bit lower than what was expected for Dalton.
While Minshew is expected to continue to be the starter, Dehner notes the Jags don’t have a veteran backup and Dalton could fill that hole.
Several NFL insiders have pointed out one reason the trade market for Dalton was so slim — his contract. He was due to be paid $17 million this coming season. While he had said he’d return to Cincinnati as the backup this year, the team seemingly didn’t want to make him the highest-paid second-string quarterback in the league.