Predicting which teams might want Andy Dalton after the NFL Draft

Andy Dalton has seemed destined to land elsewhere, but which teams may circle back toward him after the upcoming NFL Draft?

The writing is on the wall for Andy Dalton. The Cincinnati Bengals are set to draft Joe Burrow No. 1 overall, and even if they decide trade down from that pick they are sure to draft a quarterback. Dalton is also going into the final year of his contract, which has fostered trade speculation.

Dalton is due to make $17.5 million in base salary this year, so as teams have spent their cap space in free agency a trade market for him has not really materialized. It was easy to tie him to the Chicago Bears before they traded for Nick Foles, and the New England Patriots don’t appear interested in any notable veteran quarterback after Tom Brady’s departure.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor hasn’t ruled out keeping Dalton, which is backed up by a prior report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport suggesting they are open to keeping him.

“Every option is on the table,” Taylor said. “We’re trying to put ourselves in the best position to make sure we’re prepared for next season and we have the best assets we can have. We think the world of Andy, obviously.”

Dalton has some value as a veteran backup, even as expensive as he’ll relatively be. The Bengals can also cut him, and clear his entire $17.7 million cap hit off the books. If every option is indeed on the table for Cincinnati, and that should be the case, cutting Dalton might be the ultimate move.

With the draft now looming in a couple weeks, teams who are looking at quarterbacks are surely focusing there. So the action around Dalton, Cam Newton and Jameis Winston seems sure to wait until the draft is over.

After the draft, which teams could have interest in Dalton?

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are moving forward with Gardner Minshew as their starting quarterback. But if the season started today, with some buzz they might draft a quarterback early, Josh Dobbs would be the backup.

Jacksonville has freed up some cap space, and once they trade Yannick Ngakoue they’ll clear a lot more. So in theory they could wind up being able to take on Dalton’s salary without issue, even if it’s smarter to wait until he’s cut and not surrender an asset in a trade.

Jay Gruden is now in place as the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville. He of course occupied the same post in Cincinnati from 2011-2013, before leaving to become the head coach in Washington, and Dalton had two of his best seasons with Gruden calling the plays.

New England Patriots

If feels certain the Patriots will draft a quarterback, either in the first round with the 23rd overall pick or later as they may be looking to unearth another late-round find. But if they wind up coming out of the draft without a signal caller, there’s a decent chance Dalton will be on the radar. That said, without some serious salary cap gymnastics, they would have to wait for Dalton to be cut.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers also seem certain to draft a quarterback, either with the No. 6 pick or perhaps in the second round with a trade up surely possible. They have consistently expressed commitment to Tyrod Taylor as the starter this year, even with Cam Newton speculation still not really going away.

Dalton’s fit on the Chargers’ quarterback depth chart, which would presumably include Taylor and a rookie, doesn’t look ideal. But if Newton doesn’t land there, there’s a chance Dalton winds up in Los Angeles.

The Bengals haven’t done Dalton any favors by hanging onto him this long, even if they feel he can be a valuable mentor to Burrow. The list of likely trade suitors was never long, and Dalton will be left with limited chairs to choose from and no clear or likely path to being a starter elsewhere now.

Next: 2020 NFL Draft: 5 players Packers could take in Round 1

But all is not necessarily lost for Dalton. Other teams who could have interest in him after the draft, most likely if he is cut and even more likely as a clear backup, include the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.

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