How committed are Bengals to Dalton?

How committed are Bengals to Dalton?
March 23, 2014, 6:45 pm
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The question in Cincinnati — probably the biggest question — is whether Andy Dalton is the quarterback who can lead the Bengals to fulfill the potential of a Super Bowl-quality roster. So with Dalton’s contract expiring after next season, the question was put Bengals owner Mike Brown about locking him up. The way the question was phrased during a joint interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer  and the club’s website was this: “You've made a decision you'd like to go with Dalton as your guy going forward?”

Did Brown give an unequivocal, two-thumbs-up, we’re-absolutely-committed response? Not exactly.

"We are going to try to get something done," he said, "but I don't know if we are going to be able to or not. At some point, we are going to have to do something more than just let everyone else leave waiting to get something done with that situation. We held back this year trying to put ourselves in a position to get him done. If it turns out it can't be made to work, we will do something elsewhere. I don't think we plan to go another year the way we did this year."

Was that too subtle? How about this?

“Do you have a high-priced quarterback and less elsewhere or do you try to have as many guys as you can have and maybe a quarterback that is young and not so highly paid? Seattle, for example of that. In fact, you look at the statistics, it is rather surprising how few quarterbacks that are old in recent years — saying over 30 — have won the Super Bowl. They've gotten there, but they haven't won it.”

For the record, Dalton is still well under 30 — he turns 27 in October — and has still played just three years in the NFL. The message could just be a negotiating point, but Brown also may truly be signaling that he would be willing to take his chances with stepping down with an even younger or less highly touted quarterback who is still surrounded by the talented Bengals roster.

After all, Dalton has helped get Cincinnati to the playoffs, but the Bengals still have yet a win a postseason game with him.