Dalton’s future strengthened

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    Andy Dalton’s future may have gotten even brighter.

    The Cincinnati Bengals traded quarterback Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders for a first-round pick in 2012 and a second-round pick in 2013, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

    The move all but ensures Dalton’s future as the quarterback for the Bengals. The rookie from TCU has started in each of Cincinnati’s first six games.

    Palmer, the Bengals’ starter since 2004, demanded a trade in the offseason and has not participated in any team activities since. Palmer will be reunited in Oakland with Raiders’ head coach Hue Jackson, who spent three seasons as Cincinnati’s wide receivers coach.

    But Dalton may not have needed the Palmer-trade to establish himself as the franchise’s quarterback of the future.

    Through six games, Dalton has led the Bengals to a 4-2 record, matching the club’s 2010 win total. Cincinnati, off this week, is currently in the middle of a three-game winning streak after beating Indianapolis 27-17.

    Dalton said Tuesday that he never felt like his performance would figure into Palmer’s situation.
    “I knew coming in here that he wasn’t going to be here and that the job was going to be open,” Dalton told the AP. “It’s nothing that I’ve worried about.”

    His numbers so far may have made it easier for the Bengals to let go of Palmer.

    Dalton threw for 264 yards and a touchdown against the Colts, and has totaled 1,311 yards and seven touchdowns on the year. His quarterback rating of 84.3 ranks 17th in the NFL, eight spots ahead of fellow rookie and number one overall pick Cam Newton.

    Dalton, who led the Frogs to a 13-0 record and a Rose Bowl win in 2010, went 42-7 as a starter at TCU before being selected by the Bengals in the second round of the NFL Draft in April.