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Report: Bengals benching Andy Dalton

Mike Florio and Big Cat look at two trade targets, O.J. Howard and Trent Williams, and debate whether they will be traded before the deadline.

The Bengals weren’t ready to consider starting rookie Ryan Finley at quarterback after losing in Week Seven, but it seems going winless throughout the first half of their schedule was enough to make head coach Zac Taylor change his mind.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that the Bengals will bench Andy Dalton and hand the reins of the offense over to Finley when they return from their bye to face the Ravens in Week 10.

Dalton leads the league in passing attempts and completions after the first eight weeks and has thrown for 2,252 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing over 60 percent of his passes. That adds up to a passer rating of 79.2, which would be the lowest full season rating in Dalton’s eight-plus years as the Bengals starter.

Dalton, who turned 32 on Tuesday, is under contract for next year, but the Bengals can get out of the deal without any dead money on their salary cap. They could conceivably try to trade him before Tuesday afternoon’s deadline as well, although there’s no sign that such a move is in the cards.

Finley will presumably get the rest of the year to show that he’s capable of leading the offense in the future. Even if the fourth-round pick shows he can play, the Bengals may be in the market for a quarterback in the 2020 draft as they look like they’ll be picking quite early in the first round.