It’s tough to be stuck in the middle at quarterback in the NFL.
The Cincinnati Bengals might be the absolute middle. Andy Dalton isn’t a bad quarterback. He has made three Pro Bowls. The Bengals are 17 games over .500 in his starts. Since his rookie season his passer rating has settled between 87.4 and 91.8 every season with one good outlier (106.2 in 2015) and one bad (83.5 in 2014). He’s not bad enough to dump, yet to this point not good enough to win big with.
Dalton is fine. And … he’s fine. Bengals fans shouldn’t feel he’s the reason they haven’t won a playoff game in forever, but they probably also dream of upgrading.
That attempt at an upgrade might not happen anytime soon, according to their director of player personnel.
Bengals still like Andy Dalton
Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin was asked at the Senior Bowl about Dalton, by the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Fletcher Page.
“We’re very comfortable with Andy,” Tobin told Page. “We think he’s got a number of years left. We feel like we can win with him. But with any position group, we don’t just throw away the whole draft board at a group just because we’re satisfied with who we have. We’ll evaluate them and look at them and see if there’s an opportunity to add a guy at every position.”
So the Bengals might draft a quarterback, but it doesn’t seem to be a pressing concern. Of course, this might be a topic for coach-in-waiting Zac Taylor, who is coaching the Rams quarterbacks at the Super Bowl the next couple weeks, to weigh in on.
Dalton is 31 years old, which isn’t too young or old at quarterback. Dalton will make $33.5 million in base salary in 2019 and 2020, which is reasonable for a starting quarterback. Even his salary isn’t really remarkable in any way.
Dalton is the epitome of the status quo, and the Bengals seem fine with that.
Bengals trying to get out of a rut
It’s possible the quarterback situation was a reason the Bengals weren’t players for the top candidates this coaching cycle (though, were there really any phenomenal candidates in this thin class?). The draw of coaching Dalton isn’t nearly the same as coaching Baker Mayfield or Aaron Rodgers.
Part of the Bengals problem is they haven’t been terrible enough to tear it all down, but not good enough to win any playoff games. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since the end of the 1990 season. They have lost eight in a row.
Maybe Taylor, assuming the hire becomes official (after the Josh McDaniels-Colts debacle last year, you never know), can invigorate the Bengals and Dalton. But unless things change dramatically, it will be Dalton again for Cincinnati. There are worse options. There are better ones too. The Bengals are living in no-man’s land at quarterback.
– – – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports:
• ‘You’re too old!’: Watch Pats’ Edelman motivate Brady
• Cowboys WR makes damning claim against team
• Raiders star mocks ‘clowns on TV’ after being criticized
• Suns stadium debate sparked between shooter, victim