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Andy Dalton: an OK quarterback who just got $115 million


Scott Halleran

1. WHAT?

2. WHAT??

3. WHAT!!

4. Grantland's Bill Barnwell has a fantastic (and apparently, very well-timed) column today on Andy Dalton that lays bare his biggest issues: namely, he's absolutely terrible under pressure:

Andy Dalton is not without merit, but he has one major problem that needs to be corrected: He can’t reliably handle pass pressure. Dalton comes from the Kevin Kolb and Blaine Gabbert school, which is a school that should probably be shut down, demolished, and declared a Superfund site. Quarterbacks in this class often struggle to diagnose pressure before the snap and do a subpar job of capturing who exactly is coming at them when defenses disguise their blitzers. Even worse, when they do feel even the tiniest bit of pressure heading in their direction, passers like Kolb and Gabbert bail out of the pocket and frantically sprint toward the sideline like ants trying to escape feet.

5. I'm not sure if you know this, but once NFL defensive coordinators figure out that you respond badly to pressure, they will keep using pressure. If you can't read disguised coverages under pressure and if you have a bad tendency to panic, roll out of the pocket and heave the ball at anything in orange, you're going to have a real bad time.

6. Andy Dalton is an okay quarterback.

7. He is not a good quarterback. In many places, he'd be a pretty solid backup.

8. However, I think he thinks that he's a good quarterback, and surely those around him and whomever in this godforsaken organization signs the checks have told him that he's a good quarterback, with "a few things to work on" and "real potential."

9. There's a real chance Andy Dalton will never win a playoff game.

10. The Bengals -- who, let's not forget, are no longer a complete tire fire and have been able to develop players like Giovani Bernard, Geno Atkins and Vontaze Burfict -- just pledged $115 million* to a quarterback whose ceiling may be "win the (kind of meh) division, lose in the playoffs." There's not a Philip Rivers itching to break out inside Andy Dalton. This is what we've got.

11. Basically, the Bengals are willing to pay their roster's least-good player over $100 million.

12. I need to lie down.

*Though if this is a Kaepernick-style contract, only a small percentage of that money would be guaranteed and the Bengals would have the freedom to move on.