Coach Marvin Lewis recently suggested that Jay Cutler's contract, featuring $54 million in guarantees, has been the sticking point in contract negotiations between Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Speaking at the Bengals media luncheon Tuesday, owner Mike Brown said he envisions a contract similar toColin Kaepernick's, which is a team-friendly deal with more bonuses than guarantees.
Brown is hopeful that common ground will be reached "soon enough."
That's easier said than done in an NFL landscape lacking a second-tier quarterback market. Dalton wants to be paid like the face of the franchise.
If his regular-season numbers bolster his argument for a Cutler contract, his postseason failures back up Brown's contention that a Kaepernick deal is more appropriate.
Realizing that he holds the leverage, Brown confirmed Tuesday that the franchise tag is an option in 2015 if no deal is reached this year.
That's the scenario that has always made the most sense.
As the prime meridian of starting quarterbacks, Dalton is a competitive advantage on a $2 million salary. If he lands an average of $18-20 million over the next three years, though, Dalton will put the Bengals at a disadvantage against the salary cap.
Until Dalton proves that he can make his surrounding talent better, Brown is going to be reluctant to reward him with $50 million in guarantees.
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