Ex-Bengals QB Andy Dalton, Cowboys Agree to Reported 1-Year, $7M Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2020

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 13: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images

Free-agent quarterback Andy Dalton agreed to a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys, the team announced Saturday.

Dalton's deal is worth $3 million guaranteed and up to $7 million total, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Interesting signing to secure a top backup. But... before anyone asks, #Cowboys source says this has nothing to do with Dak Prescott. This is just about Dalton wanting to be back in Dallas and the #Cowboys wanting a strong option in case of injury. Simple. https://t.co/WrXSLdIqZL

Many expected the Cincinnati Bengals to move on from Dalton this offseason. He was due to earn more than $17 million this year, and the Bengals selected their quarterback of the future, Joe Burrow, with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

Given his 2020 salary, Cincinnati was unable to find a trade partner and released Dalton on Thursday.

This offseason wasn't a good time to be a veteran quarterback on the trade or free-agent market. Cam Newton remains unsigned after the Carolina Panthers released him, and Jameis Winston settled for a backup job with the New Orleans Saints after leading the NFL in passing yards in 2019.

In order to land on his feet, Dalton would have to settle for a demotion, a significant pay cut or both with a new team.

When fans think about Dalton's NFL resume, his performance in the playoffs is often one of the first things that come to mind. He threw for 873 yards, one touchdown and six interceptions while completing 55.7 percent of his passes in four straight Wild Card Round defeats.

And any search of the phrase "Andy Dalton prime time" is bound to produce a number of results drawing attention to his propensity to fall apart in night games.

The Dalton discourse may have swung so far as to obscure his actual value and past record.

CBS Sports @CBSSports

Since 2011, only 6 QBs have hit the following marks: 30,000 Pass Yards 200 Pass TD 70 Wins Drew Brees Aaron Rodgers Tom Brady Matt Ryan Ben Roethlisberger Andy Dalton https://t.co/sZvUkiF8G6

Over his career, the 32-year-old is averaging 237.5 yards per game and completing 62.0 percent of his passes. He also has a 4.6 percent touchdown rate and 2.7 percent interception rate, per Pro Football Reference.

Dalton doesn't deserve to be grouped together with the best passers of the past decade (three Pro Bowls in nine seasons), but he's arguably an exception to the notion a quarterback's record provides little insight.

Winning 70 games and helping the Bengals make five straight postseasons are quite the achievements given the franchise's history.