Cincinnati is expected to select former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Dalton -- a two-time Pro Bowl selection and nine-year starter -- is still under contract with the team in 2020. Dalton has a base salary of $17.5 million next season.
Dalton's agent, Jeff Nalley, has been working with the team this off-season to find a trade partner for the veteran quarterback. Sources told NFL Network Wednesday that other options remain in play between the two parties, including another pairing in 2020 with the AFC North franchise. The Bengals have had conversations with other teams regarding a trade for the quarterback but nothing has materialized.
The quarterback market has dried up in recent weeks. The Dallas Cowboys locked up quarterback Dak Prescott with the exclusive franchise tag and are still negotiating for a long-term contract. The Chicago Bears traded for former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles. The Carolina Panthers agreed to a pact with free agent Teddy Bridgewater. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Tom Brady. The Indianapolis Colts signed Philip Rivers.
The New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers are the three teams in most need of a quarterback next season but there are other free agents and 2020 NFL Draft prospects available, including former No. 1 overall picks Cam Newton and Jameis Winston. With the Bengals and Dolphins likely to select a quarterback early in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Dalton's options for a starting job are dwindling.
The $16 million average annual value of Dalton's contract with the Bengals ranks 21st among quarterbacks.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection averaged 10 wins per season in his first five years as an NFL starting quarterback. Dalton is 20-25-1 in 46 starts since that streak. The second-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft threw career-low 16 touchdown passes and had his most inaccurate season since his rookie year in 2019. His 78.4 quarterback rating was also a career-low.