Andy Dalton Rumors: Jets 'Have Some Level of Interest' in Ex-Bengals QB

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2020

CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 29:   Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws the ball during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The New York Jets reportedly have "some level" of interest in free-agent quarterback Andy Dalton following his release from the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday.

According to ESPN's Rich Cimini, the Jets' interest in Dalton has been characterized as "due diligence" in terms of exploring the possibility of adding a veteran backup behind starter Sam Darnold.

Aside from Darnold, the Jets don't have a quarterback on their roster who has started an NFL regular-season game.

Darnold missed three games last season with mononucleosis, and the Jets offense appeared lost without him. Veteran Trevor Siemian was the backup, but he injured his ankle in Week 2, which allowed Luke Falk to play the bulk of three games.

In those contests, the Jets averaged less than eight points per game and went 0-3.

David Fales is penciled in as the backup behind Darnold. While Fales is familiar with head coach Adam Gase's offense since he played under him with the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins, he has never started a regular-season game and has attempted just 48 career passes.

In an effort to create competition behind Darnold, the Jets selected Florida International quarterback James Morgan in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL draft.

The 6'4", 229-pound Morgan has prototypical size and arm strength, but he is more of a developmental starter than an immediate No. 2 after completing just 58.0 percent of his passes and throwing for only 14 touchdowns in 12 games as a senior.

Meanwhile, the 32-year-old Dalton is brimming with experience, as he owns a 70-61-2 record in 133 career NFL starts. He is also a three-time Pro Bowler and led the Bengals to the playoffs five times, although he never won a postseason game.

Dalton has thrown for 31,594 yards, 204 touchdowns and 118 interceptions, and he would give the Jets some much-needed insurance should Darnold get injured.

He is coming off a down year, though, as he threw for just 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and was also benched for three games, resulting in the Bengals' selection of LSU quarterback Joe Burrow No. 1 overall.

Aside from New York, Dalton could be a good fit for the New England Patriots should they bring in some competition for 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham.

Also, NFL Network's Steve Wyche reported Thursday that the Jacksonville Jaguars have interest in Dalton, as Jags offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was Dalton's offensive coordinator in Cincinnati for three seasons.