The Cincinnati Bengals are making a change at quarterback.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 29, 2019
Sources have informed NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero that veteran quarterback Andy Dalton has been benched in favor of rookie Ryan Finley. The Bengals selected Finley, 24, in the fourth round in the 2019 NFL Draft. He is the presumed heir apparent to Dalton, who has been running the show in Cincy since 2011. The three-time Pro Bowler is celebrating his 32nd birthday today, which probably makes this move a bit awkward.
Dalton leads the league in completions and pass attempts, while also throwing for a career-best 281.5 yards per game. And yet, Dalton hasn’t played to his potential to this point in the season. His TD% has dropped from 5.8% to 2.7% this year, while the 79.2 passer rating represents a career worst and is well below the career 88.8 passer rating he owned entering this season. Perhaps Dalton could use a change of scenery?
Before we even entertain the idea of the Bears trading for Dalton, take note that he is under contract for the rest of this season (at $16.2 million) and next year (at $17.7 million), per OverTheCap.com. If the Bears were looking for a bridge quarterbacking candidate, they could do worse than Dalton. But in order to make it work, they would have to trim salary to get under next year’s cap number. OverTheCap.com estimates Chicago has $17,049,640 in salary cap space right now, but that number is expected to shrink as some of their young players on rookie-scale deals get to places in their career where they are due pay bumps.
The Bengals’ situation isn’t the only one worth monitoring.
Check out this under-the-radar nugget regarding what’s happening in the Titans’ world:
Titans worked out free-agent QBs Josh Johnson and Taylor Heinicke today, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 29, 2019
Hmmmmm … are the Titans working out quarterbacks in case they trade one off their roster?
For what it’s worth, Marcus Mariota’s cap number is at $20,922,000. So if the Bears were to put together a trade to bring him in to shake up the quarterbacks room, the Bears would need to clear more than $3 million in salary to accommodate his contract. And honestly, that is a pretty significant hurdle to clear at this point of the season.
In any case, let’s keep an eye on what’s happening with quarterback situations around the league. Because even though the vibe suggests the Bears aren’t going to make a big splash, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. We’ve been surprised and taken off-guard before, so it’s better to be prepared for the unexpected than the alternative.