If the New England Patriots want Andy Dalton, the only asset they need to part with is money.
The Cincinnati Bengals are releasing the veteran quarterback, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday.
The writing was on the wall for Dalton in Cincinnati after the Bengals drafted LSU QB Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick.
Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis
Still, it's notable that Cincy released Dalton outright instead of seeking a trade for the 32-year-old, who was set to make $17.5 million in 2020 on the final year of a six-year contract.
New England has been floated as a potential landing spot for Dalton since Tom Brady left the Patriots in free agency; former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis believes the nine-year veteran is best equipped to succeed in Josh McDaniels' system, while NBC Sports' Peter King has tabbed Dalton as an ideal "bridge" QB for the Pats as Jarrett Stidham continues his development.
Naturally, NFL Twitter immediately connected Dalton to the Patriots following Schefter's report Thursday morning.
Belichick is going to try to win the AFC with Andy Dalton is quite the heat check. https://t.co/FFFg4fSuRA— Bae Crowder (@CPoTweetsStuff) April 30, 2020
New England has resisted acquiring a big-name QB to this point, however, signing Brian Lewerke and J'Mar Smith as undrafted free agents but otherwise clearing the path for Stidham to be the 2020 starter.
Whether Dalton's release changes Bill Belichick's plans remains to be seen.