New England Patriots

Dec 1, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) celebrates as the team gets the first win of the season against the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson,

Quarantine makes you do some crazy, otherwise regrettable things.

Spend an entire Monday thinking it was Thursday or maybe even Saturday? Sure. Eat your weight in Starburst FaveReds jellybeans? Who cares. Watch enough Law & Order that you memorize the entire intro, including the DUN DUN, by lunch? Why not.

But become interested in quarterback Andy Dalton? Everyone’s got their limits, and that’s where the Patriots found theirs.

On the block since before LSU’s Joe Burrows even came to town with the No. 1 overall pick, Dalton’s Cincinnati ride ended with an outright release and a one-year deal with the Cowboys. Before that happened, however, the Bengals tried calling Bill Belichick to find out if they would be interested in adding the Red Rifle to their quarterback competition. I mean, after all, Dalton’s credentials as a three-time Pro Bowler outweighed both journeyman backup Brian Hoyer and second-year pro Jarrett Stidham’s, and hey, he was a name that people had indeed heard of, so why not.

That call, according to MMQB’s Albert Breer, went nowhere.

“That said, how this went should further color where the Jaguars and Patriots are at the position. Cincinnati shopped Dalton to both, and neither showed much interest,” Breer wrote. “Viva la Gardner Minshew, and viva la Jarrett Stidham, apparently.”

And even when Dalton could’ve been had for relatively little money (the 32-year-old’s one-year deal with the Cowboys can be worth up to $7 million, but comes with just $3 million guaranteed), the Patriots never expressed any interest.

“Per a source with knowledge of the situation, five teams pursued Dalton,” ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio wrote. “None provided a direct path to a starting job in 2020. (This implies that the Patriots weren’t one of the five.) Dalton decided to go to the best team with the best chance to compete for a championship in 2020.”

This is certainly in line with everything else the Patriots have done this offseason though, as Belichick and Co. seem more than content entering 2020 with Hoyer and Stidham competing for the No. 1 job.

“I like both those players,” Belichick said of Hoyer and Stidham after the 2020 NFL Draft. “We’ve had Brian a couple times. I think he certainly gives us a very solid level of play. We have a lot of confidence in him. And Jarrett had a good year last year. He improved a lot. We’ll see where that takes him. I have confidence in both players.”

(And zero confidence in what Dalton, who went 2-11 as the Bengals’ starter last year, could’ve done with the Patriots.)

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.

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