The Andy Dalton era officially has ended in Cincinnati.
The Bengals have announced the release of Dalton, a second-round pick in 2011. He led the team to five straight playoff berths.
“Andy will always hold a special place with this franchise, and I know that he holds a special place in my heart,” owner Mike Brown said in a statement. “This is a hard day for our club because we know and appreciate what a consummate professional Andy has always been. We respect and appreciate Andy, and we thank him.”
“Andy will always be considered a key member of the Bengals’ organization,” coach Zac Taylor added. “His teammates and coaches appreciate his leadership and his commitment to winning. Just as importantly, Andy and his wife JJ are leaving a lasting impact in the community with the incredible work their foundation has done over the years. Andy and his family have meant a lot to this team and this city, and we wish them the best in the future.”
Dalton was due to earn $17.5 million this year in salary, along with a $200,000 workout bonus. There were no balloon payments or guarantees that forced a quicker decision, but that’s a common component when reaching the final year of a long-term contract.
The Bengals had tried to trade Dalton; a glut of veteran options made that impossible to accomplish. With Joe Burrow on board, the Bengals apparently have decided not to duplicate the Carson Palmer redshirt-year approach, opting instead to thrust Burrow into the mix immediately.