Set to be a free agent at the end of the season, he will make just under $1 million this season from his rookie contract, with this new six-year deal coming into effect next season. This means he will be in Cincinnati for the next seven seasons, through the 2020 season. The value of the new money is $96 million, an average of $19.2 million per season. If he hits all of his incentives, he can earn up to $115 million. These incentives are all based on how far the team goes in the playoffs. With his $16 million per year average, he is the 11th highest paid quarterback in the NFL.
Of this $96 million, only $17 million is guaranteed from the start. In the original version of this article, I said it was likely that there would be guarantees that kick in after a certain date. While that is still unknown, I still think this news will come out later.
The contract would be structured like this to give the Bengals some protection is Dalton struggles and doesn’t live up to expectations.
Some weeks he will play as a top-tier quarterback who deserves this money, but other weeks he will perform as one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. Take a look at this picture of his weekly grades from Pro Football Focus last season.
This inconsistency is what has frustrated Bengals fans ever since the team selected him with the 35th overall pick in the 2011 draft.
The last three seasons, the Bengals have made the postseason three straight times with Dalton at the helm, but all three times they have lost with him putting up a poor performance. In these three games he has completed 56.9 percent of his passes, thrown one touchdown compared to six interceptions and has a quarterback rating of 54.4.
These three loses in the playoffs continue the Bengals’ playoff drought, having not won a playoff game since 1990––when Dalton was just three-years old.
Last season he completed 61.9 percent of his passes while throwing for a career-highs in yards (4,293), touchdowns (33), interceptions (20) and quarterback rating (88.8). He also threw the ball 58 more times than he had before, helping to raise all of these numbers. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 16th best quarterback in the league.
Now that the actual monetary terms of the contract are known, this contract looks much better for the Bengals. I said I would wait to judge this contracts until the terms are known and now I’m saying this isn’t a great deal for Cincinnati, but it also isn’t a bad deal.
Cincinnati needs Dalton to continue to improve his game, but $16 million per year is an okay price for a quarterback of Dalton’s caliber. Quarterbacks are making so much money now and each time a new contract is completed, this contract will look better for the Bengals.