Andy Dalton quarterbacking the Patriots would have been a preposterous idea this time a year ago.

Now, there’s some sense behind the potential pairing.

Dalton’s likely soon to no longer have a fit in Cincinnati, as the Bengals all but surely will select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. As for the Patriots, their starting quarterback plans remain unknown after Tom Brady on Tuesday announced his decision to depart New England.

Bill Belichick and Co. likely will add a signal-caller or two in due time, potentially both a rookie and a veteran. It remains to be seen if the Patriots have any interest in Dalton, but NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo seems to believe Dalton has his eyes set on Foxboro.

“Now Andy Dalton probably is looking at New England saying, ‘Hey, that’s the one seat that’s still not occupied right now.’ Out of all the options, he’s probably the most proven right now,” Garafolo said on NFL Network. “I don’t know that if you’re the Patriots you’re looking at it saying, ‘Hey, Andy Dalton’s going to be our quarterback for the next 10 years.’ We’ll see, but I think that Dalton believes that he’s got a shot at that gig. We’ll see if he and his folks are right on that one shortly, I guess.”

The list of Dalton’s potential landing sports is shortening, as the Oakland Raiders, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers all made plays for veteran signal-callers. Both the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers, meanwhile, are in prime position to draft top QB prospects next month.

So, who knows. With the Patriots in need of QB help and the Bengals motivated to find a trade for Dalton, maybe there will be a match there.

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