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#pounditFriday, January 27, 2023

Andy Dalton says he could return to Bengals

It has been widely assumed that the Cincinnati Bengals will either trade or release Andy Dalton this offseason with Joe Burrow soon joining the team, but the veteran quarterback does not sound convinced that he will be playing for a new team in 2020.

Dalton could still be traded at some point between now and the conclusion of the draft or released in the coming weeks, but he told NFL.com’s Michael Silver this week that he can envision a scenario where the Bengals want him back.

“I truly believe they want what’s best for me, but I understand it’s a business, and you know how that goes,” Dalton said. “With the first pick, if they take a quarterback like everyone expects, that could trigger something. There’s even a scenario where I go back there.”

The Bengals may be less inclined to part ways with Dalton due to the coronavirus outbreak. With teams having to conduct offseason workouts virtually and the potential for training camp to be shortened, postponed or canceled, it will be more difficult for veteran players to get up to speed with new offenses. Dalton is obviously familiar with the system in Cincinnati, so it would not be a shock if the Bengals kept him around as insurance behind Burrow.

As Silver notes, Bengals coach Zac Taylor recently hinted at the possibility of the team keeping Dalton.

“Everything’s on the table, and that’s the truth,” Taylor said. “Given the circumstances going on in the world right now, it doesn’t make sense not to keep our options open. [Bringing him back is] something to consider.”

The impact the coronavirus outbreak is having on the NFL offseason is one of the reasons teams that are in need of help at quarterback may stick with what they have rather than looking to make a trade. Should that happen, there will be less suitors for Dalton. The 32-year-old would likely need to restructure his $17.7 million salary for 2020 if he remains in Cincinnati, but he may be willing to do that since there is no guaranteed money left on the deal.

The Bengals are reportedly going to work with Dalton so he doesn’t end up with a team for which he does not want to play. Depending on how things pan out, he may prefer to spend one more season as a backup in Cincinnati before testing free agency.

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