Andy Dalton’s contract looks even better for Bengals after Matthew Stafford cashes in

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 18:   Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals warms up before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 18, 2015 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals warms up before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 18, 2015 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Credit: Tom Szczerbowski

Credit: Tom Szczerbowski

Matthew Stafford’s new five-year, $135 million contract with the Detroit Lions dominated headlines in the NFL on Tuesday, bringing back memories of the day Andy Dalton came to terms on his second contract the Cincinnati Bengals.

Three years ago, many had the same question for the Bengals they do now for the Lions: Is he really worth that?

Then as now the answer was yes, but with the benefit of hindsight, Dalton’s deal (six years, $96 million overall) looks better every year.

This season, Dalton comes with a lower cap hit ($15.7 million to $16.5 million according to Spotrac.com) and the gap will grow to more than $10 million next season when Stafford makes $26.5 million.

Otherwise, they have a lot in common.

Both players call Texas their home state, and both are 29 years old.

They are both winless in the postseason, too, though Dalton has led five teams that made the playoffs compared to just three for Stafford, who has been in the league two years longer.

The strong-armed Stafford can boast of a better pedigree, having been the No. 1-rated high school quarterback in the class of 2006 and the No. 1 overall pick in 2009.

Dalton was also a member of the ’06 recruiting class, though he was ranked No. 28. Five years later, the Bengals drafted him in the second round.

And yet Dalton has accomplished more so far in the league.

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Dalton has a higher career quarterback rating (89.1 to 86.8) and three Pro Bowl selections to Stafford’s one.

While Stafford’s teams are just 51-58 with him under center, Dalton’s are 21 games over .500 (56-35-1).

Might fans of both teams wonder if they could do better? Yeah, probably.

But they can also be sure they could do a lot worse.

Welcome to the quarterback picture in today’s NFL.

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