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Andy Dalton is the latest beneficiary of the NFL's insane quarterback market

Andy Dalton's new six-year, $115 million contract is very, very expensive. But that doesn't mean he's not worth it -- and his receiving that money highlights the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' issues, too.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Dalton has received a ridiculous six-year, $115 million contract extension from the Cincinnati Bengalsaccording to Adam Schefter. That's a lot of money for a player who has been average at best, and downright bad at worst at his position. But that's the reality of the quarterback position: if you want to hang on to a young starter, no matter how good or bad he is, you'd better be prepared to pay. A lot.

That now makes for 12 quarterbacks earning more than $15 million per year on average in their contracts, per Over The Cap. And that group doesn't include Tom Brady, who has a really weirdly structured deal or Ben Roethlisberger, who comes in at slightly less than $15 million per year but will soar past that in a new deal.

Other players set to join that group once they see new deals include Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III. Over half the NFL will be paying absurd amounts to their starting quarterbacks in a couple of years. Barring some odd developments (or Glennon truly breaking out), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won't be part of that group.

That's both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing, in that the Bucs have, have had and will continue to have significant extra cap space to spend elsewhere, to compensate for their lack of a franchise quarterback. They couldn't pay Michael Johnson, and Gerald McCoy, and Alterraun Verner, and Vincent Jackson, and Anthony Collins, and Dashon Goldson, and Evan Dietrich-Smith if they had to simultaneously pay a franchise quarterback. It should make the team as a whole (minus quarterback) significantly better.

It's also a curse, because it means the Bucs don't have the miracle cure of NFL football: quality quarterback play. Oh they have a promising young player and a veteran who was surprisingly good last year, but neither is expected to be more than a game manager. They're not going to be Aaron Rodgers, or Drew Brees, or Peyton Manning, or Tony Romo or even Joe Flacco.

But there's one other advantage: that lack of a crippling contract at quarterback also gives the team the opportunity to keep looking for a quality passer. Whereas the Bengals are now stuck with Andy Dalton for the foreseeable future, at least the Bucs won't be beholden to any quarterback -- good or bad.