Andy Dalton still envisions a scenario where he’ll return to the Bengals in 2020

Andy Dalton expressed frustration after the Bengals didn’t trade him before last year’s deadline. Dalton, the team’s former franchise quarterback, had been benched in favor of rookie Ryan Finley eight games into the season. Five months later, Dalton has come to grips with the fact that he may back in Cincinnati for the 2020 season, despite the fact that the Bengals are expected to draft his replacement — Joe Burrow — with the No. 1 overall pick. The Bengals reportedly wanted to help Dalton find a trade partner, but given the current quarterback market, Dalton remains on the Bengals’ roster.

“I truly believe they want what’s best for me, but I understand it’s a business, and you know how that goes,” Dalton recently told’s Michael Silver. “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.”

Zac Taylor, who is entering his second year as the Bengals’ head coach, also hasn’t ruled out keeping Dalton on the roster for the upcoming season. 

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

While he still considers himself to be a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, Dalton understands the current climate as it relates to the market of available quarterbacks that includes former league MVP Cam Newton and former Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, the league’s reigning leader in passing yards.

For a multitude of reasons, 2019 was not a banner year for Dalton and the Bengals. With a makeshift offensive line and with multiple injuries at the receiver position, Cincinnati stumbled to an 0-8 start, which prompted Taylor to bench Dalton in favor of Finley. But after losing their next three games, the Bengals decided to go back to Dalton, who led Cincinnati to their only two victories of the season.

While he has never won a playoff game, Dalton has managed to accomplish a considerable amount of things in Cincinnati. The 35th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Dalton helped lead the Bengals to two AFC North division titles and five straight playoff appearances. In the process, Dalton was selected to three Pro Bowls and has moved passed Carson Palmer and Boomer Esiason as the franchise’s second all-time leading passer.

If he returns to Cincinnati, Dalton would likely be asked to mentor LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, an Ohio native who won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship this past season. While it wouldn’t be his ideal situation, Dalton has accepted that this could be how he has to spend the 2020 season. That being said, Dalton is still optimistic that he can have the opportunity to start for someone this season.

“I obviously feel I bring value to a team, not only because of my abilities, but because of everything I’ve learned and experienced,” he said. “It’s easy to stress out about your situation, to say, ‘What if it’s this team or that team?’ But there’s no reason to try to What If? yourself to death. I’m just going to sit back and let this happen. My wife and I were talking (Wednesday) night, and we have such a peace about everything. We’re gonna be where God wants us to be, and it’s gonna work out exactly how it’s supposed to.”

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