Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/9/14
Words mean little in the NFL offseason. How teams truly feel about personnel is rarely deciphered through comments from a coach, player or even the front office. Truth lies only in action. For the most important question surrounding the Bengals offseason, the truth will be revealed Friday night. How big of an insurance policy are the Bengals willing to take out on Andy Dalton? Negotiations continue with the first quarterback in franchise history to lead the team to three straight playoff berths. Dalton enters the final year of his rookie deal with both sides seeking an extension. They'd like to sign sooner rather than later, but that's proven challenging. In a world of exponentially growing NFL QB money, a mistake could cost $20 million or more in guaranteed cash. Just ask the Texans and Matt Schaub. Or Jets and Mark Sanchez. Or Bills and Ryan Fitzpatrick. If the two sides enter this season without a deal and Dalton decides to play out the final year of his contract, both sides will be taking a risk. He could struggle in big games and the postseason, again pushing the Bengals to look elsewhere. He could finally break through with playoff wins and suddenly cost a cap-strapping amount of money (see Flacco, Joe). To avoid being stuck and add leverage in negotiations, the Bengals can hedge their bets. They can buy insurance. They can select a young QB in a draft overflowing with them. Ten could be taken in the first 100 picks. On the flip side, if the Bengals believe a deal will be done and are confident – as Lewis stated openly this offseason – Dalton is their guy going forward, there would be no need to waste a Day 2 pick on a QB prospect. Recently acquired veteran Jason Campbell currently backs up Dalton, as does last year's backup Josh Johnson. Lewis hinted this week the arrival of another QB wouldn't create an ideal situation for competition.
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