Bengals QB Dalton upset by timing of benching

Longtime Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton said Wednesday that he wished he’d heard the news that he was being benched earlier.

The Bengals (0-8) announced just hours before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline that they were turning to rookie Ryan Finley.

Ryan Finley
Bengals QB Ryan Finley. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

“It happened three hours before the trade deadline,” Dalton said, per ESPN. “I wish they would have, at least if he (coach Zac Taylor) 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.”

Dalton, the winningest quarterback in franchise history, has started 128 games for the Bengals since the start of his rookie season in 2011, when he was a second-round pick out of TCU. He led the team to 50 victories in his first five seasons, but the franchise has struggled since then, last making the playoffs in the 2015 season, with Dalton posting an 18-32-1 record in the past 3 1/2 years.

The Bengals made the playoffs in each of Dalton’s first five seasons, losing the wild-card game each year.

This season, he has thrown for 2,252 yards, with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Dalton said that once he learned he’d been benched, his agent started “trying to figure out what we could do in those last remaining couple of hours before the trade deadline.”

The quarterback, who turned 32 on Tuesday, said he will help to mentor Finley.

“Obviously there’s a lot to come in the next eight weeks and beyond after this year. I want to have an opportunity to play. I want to have an opportunity to be somewhere where I’m wanted,” he said.

“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.”

Dalton is in the fifth year of a six-year, $96 million contract extension. He is set to earn $17.5 million in 2020.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)