Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton reportedly has agreed to a six-year, $115-million contract extension, ending speculation that he might play the final year of his deal and become a free agent.
The agreement, first reported by ESPN, averages $19.2 million annually, launching Dalton into the stratosphere of the league's highest-paid players. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently signed a six-year extension worth $126 million.
The terms of Dalton's deal have not been released, so it's not publicly known what types of "de-escalators" it might include, caveats that could reduce the total value if he doesn't hit specific benchmarks.
Still, Dalton, a second-round pick in 2011, has been a key factor in the Bengals becoming a perennial playoff participant. Cincinnati, which went 14 seasons without making the playoffs from 1991 to 2004, has reached the postseason in three consecutive seasons and four of the past five.