Andy Dalton is free to sign with any team that wants him, as the Cincinnati Bengals finally moved on from the veteran quarterback on Thursday. While the market for him may not be robust, New England and Jacksonville appear to be among the early favorites to add Dalton.
Neither the Patriots nor the Jaguars have a quarterback with a firm hold on the starting job heading into the 2020 season. Many have tabbed New England as a potential destination for Dalton since Brady left in free agency. For what it’s worth, Bill Belichick had high praise for Dalton last season.
Bill Belichick prior to facing the Bengals last December: "Obviously, the quarterback [Andy] Dalton’s a very experienced guy. He’s led this team to a lot of victories, a lot of comeback victories – excellent quarterback."
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) April 30, 2020
The Patriots want Jarrett Stidham — their fourth-round draft pick a year ago — to win the starting job. They have also brought in veteran Brian Hoyer, who played for New England in the past and is familiar with the offense. That doesn’t necessarily mean there is no room for Dalton, though a potentially shortened offseason complicates things.
The Jaguars may make more sense for Dalton. While they liked what they saw from Gardner Minshew last year, many have pointed out that new Jags offensive coordinator Jay Gruden coached Dalton in the past. That might make the fit a logical one.
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) April 30, 2020
Dalton would likely welcome a chance to play for either team, as it would give him a chance to compete for a starting job. The 32-year-old almost certainly has different thoughts on the 2020 season than Jameis Winston. Starting jobs are difficult to find this late in the offseason, but the Patriots and Jaguars would at least give Dalton a chance to compete for one.