Burrow is a Bengal: Now What?
The 2020 version of the NFL Draft has come and gone and as expected with the first overall pick, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Joe Burrow, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from LSU. It was a pick that ended months of speculation on the worst-kept secret in all of the NFL. With Burrow coming to Cincinnati, plenty of Bengal fans, including myself, watched with anticipation to see what would happen to the Bengals long time starting quarterback Andy Dalton. There were plenty of rumors about him possibly becoming a Patriot. New England is seemingly in desperate need of a quarterback, with the departure of Tom Brady. We, of course, have been reminded you can’t predict the NFL. The New England Patriots didn’t draft a quarterback nor did they trade for one. Instead, the Patriots stood pat, seemingly putting all their eggs in the Brian Hoyer basket. Of course, there are still QB’s available, and a deal with Cincinnati for Dalton is still possible. There are other options for New England as well. Cam Newton is still available. But, the market for him has been quiet, to say the least. A reunion with Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett seems like a possibility coming out of the Draft. The Cincinnati Bengals, to much surprise, did not trade Andy Dalton. As it stands, he is still on the team and is owed $17.7 million for this season. To say this is a surprise is putting it mildly. He was originally thought to be as good as gone, and yet here we are at the conclusion of the NFL draft and that isn’t the case. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor refused to speculate on who would be the opening-day starter in his media conference during day one of the Draft. If picking Joe Burrow is the official end of the Andy Dalton era, why haven’t the Bengals made that abundantly clear? Adam Schefter said in a tweet that Burrow “will be able to challenge for the starting QB job right away.” Interesting wording if you ask me. It’s worth noting that the Bengals could certainly still trade or release Dalton. His current salary would put the Bengals over the salary cap so something seemingly has to give soon. But, he could always restructure his deal, and money can always be shifted. Players who haven’t been Stallworth’s of the franchise could be on the chopping block before Dalton. Not lost in all this is with the current pandemic going on, minicamps and OTA’s are in trouble. training camp could get pushed back, thus likely pushing back the entire season. You can’t overstate how valuable those reps are to a rookie. If the season gets pushed back there’s a great argument to be made that Andy Dalton would be better served to be the opening-day starter. The Cincinnati Bengals answered a lot of questions with this draft. But, Mike Brown and company also have a lot more questions they need to address with their decision making thus far this off-season. Only time will tell what happens, but given the uncertain times we’re facing overall, the opening day starter in Cincinnati is uncertain as well. Joe Burrow means the official end of the Andy Dalton era in Cincinnati. Or does it?