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.
Dalton has yet to lead his team to a playoff victory, however. He is 0-3 in wild-card games, with one touchdown and six interceptions.