“I feel like it’s definitely trending upward,” the Bengals quarterback said during TCU’s Pro Day on Friday. “It’s every year it’s a new guy that’s making the most in the NFL, has the most guaranteed and all of that kind of stuff, but with the salary cap going on, there’s more money to hand out. I’m happy for Kirk. Kirk’s obviously played a couple of years on the franchise tag, so when you do that, he had leverage to get the contract that he got. We’ll see if it’s the new trend.”
Dalton signed a six-year, $96 million extension almost four years ago, which has him under contract through 2020. His $13.9 million base salary ranks 21st in the league for 2018, according to overthecap.com, and his per year average of $16 million also ranks 21st.
Dalton, though, isn’t complaining. He’s good with his deal.
“I’m still a couple of years away from my contract being up,” Dalton said. “It’s what I agreed to. It’s what I signed, so we’re going to let it all play out how it’s supposed to.”
Bengals Vice President Troy Blackburn said the team has no thoughts of extending Dalton this year, and Dalton said he didn’t expect a new deal this year.
“I wouldn’t expect it to happen this year,” Dalton said after being asked about Blackburn’s comment. “There are other guys that will be free agents next year that are a priority. We’ll see. That’s not what I’m thinking about. I’m not thinking about the contract for sure.”
What Dalton is thinking about is getting back to work with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who took over the play-calling duties early last season when the Bengals fired Ken Zampese. Head coach Marvin Lewis’ return means Dalton goes into the offseason program with the same offensive coordinator as he ended last season.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Dalton said. “I think that’s one thing with Marvin being back, we have a lot of changes in assistant coaches and we’ll have some different philosophies and things that we’ll be doing. It’ll feel new with the structure being the same with Marvin there. I’m looking forward to that. I think it’ll be a good challenge for guys. It’ll make guys who have been around a little bit, it’ll make us learn some new things, and I think it’ll be good for us.”
Dalton, 30, enters his eighth season as one of the team’s veterans. It doesn’t seem that long ago that he was leaving TCU, on his way to Cincinnati as a second-round pick to replace Carson Palmer, now retired.
“It goes by fast,” Dalton said.