"Something would have to change for the Pats to turn their attention to Andy Dalton," The Athletic's Jeff Howe relayed Saturday. "He hasn't been discussed among the Pats' immediate plans."
Brady departed the Patriots after spending all 20 years of his NFL career in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and winning an all-time-most six Super Bowl championships with the organization. The 42-year-old signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a two-year contract with all $50 million guaranteed:
Dalton is entering the final year of a six-year, $96 million extension with the Bengals. Per Spotrac, the 32-year-old is owed $17.5 million in 2020 base salary.
The Bengals benched Dalton last season in favor of rookie fourth-rounder Ryan Finley, who started three games before Dalton was given the starting job back in December. The 2011 second-round pick finished 2019 with 3,494 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on 59.5 percent completion.
The end of the Dalton era in Cincinnati was all but signaled when the team finished a league-worst 2-14 to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft, which is widely expected to be used to select Heisman Trophy-winning LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
The Patriots don't have nearly as clear a path forward as the Bengals following Brady's exit.
The team has two quarterbacks under contract right now: 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham and 2016 third-round pick Cody Kessler. Buzz is mounting that the Pats might reunite with Brian Hoyer, released by the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, in a backup role:
Mike Reiss @MikeReiss
(re: Hoyer) In an offseason where practice time/meeting time is going to be limited, if there is any at all, free agents with intimate knowledge of a team's system might carry a little more value in specific situations. The Patriots need to add a 3rd QB at some point regardless.
Additionally, NFL Network's Michael Giardi reported Friday that a pursuit of former Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is "unlikely at this juncture," based on what an anonymous high-ranking Patriots official told him.
The Patriots could also address the quarterback position with the 23rd overall pick in next month's draft.