New England Patriots

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks up to his family in the stands after the Bengals defeated the Houston Texans 22-13 at NRG Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

I mean obviously this report was going to happen.

Cincinnati beat reporter Tyler Dragon tweeted on Thursday that the Patriots and Jaguars are among the teams interested in now-former Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. Ian Rapoport also mentioned the Jaguars as a destination that made sense, because of the presence of former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

But why do the Patriots make sense? Because Dalton’s agent knows the word will get out when people like me spew their takes on the matter. Because if Bill Belichick is interested he must be a stud. Because the Pats need a quarterback since Jarrett Stidham clearly sucks based on all this on-field evidence we’ve gathered in the past year.

Happens all the time. Doesn’t mean Dalton-to-the-Patriots won’t happen. But a notable free agent and Patriots rumors go together like peanut butter and jelly, or Twitter and soiled diapers.

Not going to knock Dragon for the report, either. If you’re a Patriots fan and you’re on Twitter telling the poor guy he’s a piece of shit for reporting what he’s been told, try not to do that. That’s not nice. He’s likely just reporting a comment he got from a legitimate source.

CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 15: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs onto the field as he is introduced before the game against the New England Patriots at Paul Brown Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 15: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs onto the field as he is introduced before the game against the New England Patriots at Paul Brown Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Here’s the thing, though. We’re still in the lying season. Free agency is still a thing. So you have to take every rumor like this as just a rumor and not necessarily a sign of the truth or a harbinger of future events. These things are fun to bandy about, as long as we do our best to be civil with each other. Probably too much to ask for social media addicts.

But here we are. Dalton is a free agent and the Patriots have an uncertain quarterback situation – according to us on the outside looking in, anyway. So they’re going to be mentioned in every major quarterback rumor until their true plans for the position come into focus.

Until Dalton signs somewhere, this won’t be the last time Patriots fans have to hear about him. The best we can do as Patriots observers is to contain our bowel movements, take a few deep breaths, and discuss it like adults. In my case, an adult with a ghoulish sense of humor.

Here come more Red Rifle takes! Pew pew pew!

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Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.