Only one quarterback in Bengals' franchise history has lead them to three consecutive playoff appearances. It's not Bengals legends Ken Anderson or Boomer Esiason. It's not the flash that was Carson Palmer.
It's Andy Dalton. And that might not be enough to keep him long term in Bengal stripes.
According to NBC Sports, team owner Mike Brown isn't committed to doing whatever it takes to keep Dalton behind center once his current contract expires. Dalton (6-2, 220, Texas Christian) was the Bengals' second round pick in 2011, a decision pressed by then-starter Carson Palmer's declaration that he would rather retire than return to the team. He has started all 48 games since the 2011 season and has, statistically, improved each year in yards, touchdowns and passer rating.
He has also increased each year in interceptions. Most alarmingly is the fact that, even though he has lead the Bengals to three straight post-seasons, each of the three have produced a one-and-done run. In three playoff losses, Dalton has thrown a total of one touchdown, six interceptions and never had a game passer rating above 67.
Dalton has had a stockpile of weapons surrounding him in receivers A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and formerly Andrew Hawkins. He has been gifted with a strong dual tight end set in Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert. The offensive line has been steady if not great. The running game would probably be more productive if used more efficiently with two capable runners in BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard. While Dalton has been serviceable in the regular season, he has not proven to be a franchise quarterback with those assets surrounding him.
If the decision comes down to keeping A.J. Green and the other offensive pieces in place or offering big money to keep Dalton in town and rebuild around him, Brown appears prepared to go quarterback shopping within the next year.