New England Patriots: Can Andy Dalton be a stop-gap for one year?

If Tom Brady decides to join another team in free agency, the New England Patriots could be interested in trading for Andy Dalton.

If the New England Patriots are unable to reach an agreement with Tom Brady, chances are the Patriots will be in the market for a veteran quarterback. If it does come down to it, could Andy Dalton be a potential stop-gap player for the team?

The Cincinnati Bengals hold the first overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft and will definitely be using it on their next franchise quarterback. The Bengals have put themselves in a rebuilding situation and will have their choice of Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, or even Tua Tagovailoa if they so choose to.

Either way, Andy Dalton will be out and looking for a new team.

The New England Patriots offense is designed for a pocket passing quarterback. Tom Brady trusts that the linemen are going to block the defenders outwards so he can step up in the pocket and fire one off.

“The Red Rifle” is one of a few veteran pocket passers left in the NFL, and could potentially get the job done for the New England Patriots for at least one season.

Don’t call me crazy just yet.

The New England Patriots were defeated in the AFC Divisional round by the Tennessee Titans and their veteran backup quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. In that game, Mike Vrabel took a page out of the Bill Belichick handbook and defeated his former coach and team.

What if Belichick takes a page out of Vrabel’s hand book and signs a veteran quarterback either to start or be a backup for his team in the eventful departure of Brady?

Andy Dalton hasn’t had the most gleaming of careers. During his nine year stint in the pros, he has thrown for 31,594 yards, 204 touchdowns, 118 interceptions, and he has an 87.5 quarterback rating.

He led the Bengals to the playoffs from 2011-2014 and made three Pro Bowls. But maybe if Dalton was in the proper system, he could be successful – similar to Tannehill. Like Vrabel did with Tannehill, it’s hard to believe Belichick couldn’t get the best season out of Dalton if necessary.

Whether Brady is playing for the New England Patriots next season or not, the team is still going to take a cap hit on his contract of either $13.5 million or $6.75 million, depending on if Brady and the Patriots can get a deal done by March. Since New England will be taking a hit against their cap for Brady, chances are the Patriots aren’t willing to invest in a boatload of money in the position.

New England will need to retool many positions this offseason, but the quarterback position is the highest priority. Although Dalton isn’t a free agent until 2021, with him not being the greatest quarterback in the league, the asking price via trade for his services can’t be extremely high. A second or third round draft pick at best is definitely reasonable for both teams involved.

The New England Patriots have a history of negotiating with the Cincinnati Bengals and drawing interest in some of their players. The two teams negotiated a trade for Corey Dillion in ‘04, and in more recent years, the Patriots would sign Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill in free agency. Interestingly enough, Mohamed Sanu started his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, too.

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It’s unknown where Jarrett Stidham is in his development, or if the New England Patriots think he’s ready to take over the team. But given the current state of the team, a veteran quarterback is the best option for the Patriots moving forward next season.

If Andy Dalton could pull off a season like Ryan Tannehill just did, then the New England Patriots could remain a playoff-contending team… even without Tom Brady.

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