I wouldn't say it was smoke and mirrors. Sure, there is a million here and a million there than could be added if he reaches the divisional playoff round or SB, but his salary without those advances is still relatively high and he is still overpaid. Also, they would have significant dead money against their cap if they cut him before the 2017 season. Even though he doesn't breach top 10 QB money in his first 5 years of the deal, there is still the element of time....time that they will waste on Dalton. Not to mention that he will be sucking up around $10mil a year, while being out played by QBs who make significantly less.3-15 in prime time games with Dalton. They should have let his original deal expire. Now they will just be spinning their wheels for a few more seasons.
while they should be competing with the upper echelon teams in the AFC
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