1) Give Dalton an extension this summer, paying decent starting quarterback money (between $14 million and $15 million per season) for a young quarterback who has been stellar in the regular season but a disaster in three playoff appearances.
2) Wait out the season and see what it will cost after this year (the Joe Flacco option).
3) Wait until next season and move forward with another young, cheap option.
Speaking at the NFL Annual Meeting on Sunday, Brown said the cost of a starting quarterback is a "dilemma" for NFL teams, regardless of how much the salary cap increases.
"When you go forward in this league, it is not clear which is the better way to go," Brown said, per the team's official website. "Do you have a high-priced quarterback and less elsewhere or do you try to have as many guys as you can have and maybe a quarterback that is young and not so highly paid?
"Seattle, for example of that. In fact, you look at the statistics it is rather surprising how few quarterbacks that are old in recent years -- saying over 30 -- have won the Super Bowl. They've gotten there but they haven't won it. I don't know is that (a) better formula to go with a younger guy and spread the money around? That's a dilemma for us. We are trying to work through it. It's slow going. I can't predict when we are going to get that matter resolved."
One thing we do know is that A.J. Green won't be leaving Cincinnati anytime soon. The team will exercise the fifth year for the dynamic wide receiver (in the new collective bargaining agreement, teams hold a fifth-year option on first-round draft picks). Putting off that big contract will allow the Bengals to focus on Dalton.
"(Green is) going to be here for not one more year, but two more years," Brown said. "Even though we haven't tendered him yet our intention is to do that and put ourselves in position to turn to others such as Dalton and we would like to turn to a couple more as well."
How fierce the team turns toward giving a new contract to Dalton will be something to watch as the spring progresses.