Bengals release Andy Dalton after nine seasons

The Cincinnati Bengals are moving on from quarterback Andy Dalton after nine seasons, clearing the way for Joe Burrow to take the starting job.

Sources told ESPN and the NFL Network Thursday morning that the veteran quarterback had been released, clearing up $17.7 million in cap space.

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Shortly after news broke, the Bengals confirmed that they were officially moving on from Dalton.

"We have released QB Andy Dalton. Andy has not only been an outstanding player on the field, but a role model in the Cincinnati community for the last nine years," the team said in a tweet.

"Thank you for everything, Andy."

The decision to move on from Dalton comes as no surprise after the Bengals drafted Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow out of LSU with the No. 1 overall pick during last week’s draft.

Head coach Zac Taylor spoke highly of Burrow immediately after the pick was made but said that the rookie would have to still compete for the starting job: “We won't get into those predictions now.”

Burrow said Dalton called him to welcome him to the team.

“Yeah, he reached out and just welcomed me to the team,” Burrow told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on the RapSheet and Friends Podcast on Monday. “I had met him before all this coronavirus craziness started, out in California. I just went up and introduced myself. So we have met each other twice now I guess.”

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According to ESPN, the Bengals told the three-time Pro Bowler that if he wanted out, they would release him.

Dalton was drafted by the Bengals No. 35 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft where he led the team to five consecutive playoff appearances to begin his career. He’s totaled 31,594 passing yards, 204 passing touchdowns with a 62 percent completion rate.