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Monday, August 4, 2014
Dalton’s deal: numbers tell two stories

By ESPN Stats & Information


Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsAndy Dalton agreed to a six-year, $115 million contract with the Bengals on Monday.
Coming off one of the best seasons by a quarterback in Cincinnati Bengals history, Andy Dalton agreed to a six-year, $115 million contract on Monday.

Dalton threw for 4,293 yards and 33 touchdowns in the 2013 season, breaking Carson Palmer's team records in both categories and tying Palmer's franchise season mark of 586 attempts. But was he worthy of such a massive contract?

Good move?

Volume-wise, Dalton's first three seasons rank among the best in NFL history. His 11,360 passing yards and his 80 touchdowns in his first three seasons are third most in NFL history behind all-time greats Dan Marino and Peyton Manning.

Dalton's overall numbers aren't far off from Manning's first three years either. With 49 more attempts, Manning had five more touchdown passes and almost 1,000 more yards, but Dalton threw nine fewer interceptions and had a much better win percentage (.625 to .542).

Dalton has improved the Bengals' win total while raising his yardage per attempt and touchdown passes each season thus far. He also became the fifth quarterback since the NFL merger to start a playoff game in his first three seasons. Only Joe Flacco has a longer streak to start a career (five straight from 2008 to 2012).

Bad move?
On the down side, Dalton failed to win any of those three playoff games, tying the longest postseason losing streak to start a career by any quarterback since the merger. His playoff numbers have been horrible too, with one touchdown pass, six interceptions and a Total QBR of 18, compared to his slightly above-average QBR of 52 in the regular season.

Dalton's biggest regular-season issues have come against division foes. He has a record of 8-10 with 24 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and a QBR of 35 against the Steelers, Ravens and Browns; and he's 22-8 with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 56-26 and a QBR of 62 against all other teams.

As Bill Barnwell noted on Grantland this morning, Dalton particularly struggles when facing pressure, with a Total QBR of 11 when under duress in his career. That ranks 33rd among 36 quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts in that span, ahead of only Sam Bradford, Brandon Weeden and Mark Sanchez.

Playoffs aside, Dalton's QBR, completion percentage and win percentage are similar to Flacco's when he signed a contract with $51 million guaranteed last offseason. Flacco then finished 2013 with a QBR of 47, 25th best in the NFL, as the Ravens missed the playoffs for the first time in his career.

With a new contract in hand, will Dalton follow Flacco's lead, or will he continue to track with the game's all-time greats?