Rumors are par for the course around NFL draft time and can’t be taken too seriously. Still, should the idea of the Cincinnati Bengals trading Andy Dalton?
Blake Bortles and Derek Carr may offer upgrades to Dalton
Several teams heading into the draft can say with confidence they are a quarterback away from making the playoffs. In the case of the Cincinnati Bengals they are one of those rare teams that can confidently say they are probably a quarterback away from reaching the Super Bowl. Indeed thanks to a series of good drafts over the past few seasons the Bengals have put together a young and highly talented roster on both offense and defense. Yet after three-straight playoff appearances they have not been able to show up when it matters. In those games the biggest culprit for their shortcomings is an offense that hasn’t been able to score more than 10 points in any of them. Responsibility for that must fall directly on the shoulders of the quarterback. Andy Dalton was instrumental in the Bengals turnaround following the departure of Carson Palmer. His leadership and ability to manage the game seemed perfect for the defensively-driven Bengals. However, his limited size and arm strength always crop up at the worst possible time. He can’t elevate his play when the team needs it the most. So it wouldn’t surprise anybody that the Bengals might be looking for an upgrade. Quarterbacks like Blake Bortles and Derek Carr certainly could look enticing. Bortles stands three inches taller than Dalton and exhibited a calmness in big games throughout the 2013 season for UCF on their way to a Fiesta Bowl win. Derek Carr is also taller, led the NCAA in passing and has one of the strongest arms in the draft.
Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans among possible deals
Obviously being rookies they wouldn’t be instant upgrade over Dalton but the Cincinnati Bengals know they might have to take that risk if they wish to compete for a championship before the window closes. The only question is can they find an interested team to deal with? While it’s unlikely they could make a jump all the way to #2 or #1 without surrendering a hardy supply of draft picks in addition to Dalton, they do have a couple of possible dealers to contact in the Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans. Minnesota is now under the direction of new head coach Mike Zimmer, who was defensive coordinator for Cincinnati before getting that job. He knows Dalton very well and knows the 26-year old can run a game managing type scheme to fit his needs as defense-first coach. It’s a move that would allow the Vikings to compete right away and avoid the need to rely on veteran Matt Cassel while they potentially develop their own rookie. As for the Titans, Ken Whisenhunt is a renowned quarterback specialist. His revival of Philip Rivers in San Diego was only his latest success story. If Tennessee is not sold on current starter Jake Locker, and there are rumblings that could be the case, then dealing for a proven commodity like Dalton could see favorable.
The Cincinnati Bengals are the only ones who know their plans for the NFL draft on the 8th. Until then this rumor regarding a trade of Andy Dalton is nothing more than another exciting topic to debate.