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Andy Dalton upset with benching before trade deadline

Andy Dalton called his benching in favor of Ryan Finley an "unfortunate thing."

The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback wasn't thrilled about the decision, but more specifically sounded perturbed at the timing of the move rather than the team's decision to take a long look at the rookie quarterback. Dalton noted that the Bengals decision to bench him hours before Tuesday's trade deadline hindered his ability to potentially seek a new place of employment this year where he might continue to start.

"It happened three hours before the trade deadline," Dalton said Wednesday, via ESPN. "I wish they would have, at least if he was thinking about it, at least try to let me see if I could end up somewhere or at least see if there was interest in possibly getting traded.

"At that point, the way it was all handled, there wasn't enough time to even have that happen."

It's possible that more time wouldn't have changed anything for the trade-averse Bengals. But Dalton's openness on the topic suggests he knows his future is elsewhere and would have hoped to get a jump on the process, perhaps leaping to a playoff team in need of a sturdy backup or a potential contender with starting questions.

The timing makes all speculation moot.

For Dalton, who has been the Bengals starter since being selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the future sits in murky soil. He has one year left on his contract but no guaranteed money.

"Obviously there's a lot to come in the next eight weeks and beyond after this year," Dalton said when asked if he'd push for a change of scenery after the season. "I want to have an opportunity to play. I want to have an opportunity to be somewhere where I'm wanted.

"If that's here, great. If it's not, we'll see. Right now, that's not my focus. My focus is just playing my role on this team."

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