With the NFL draft one week away, the Chicago Bears‘ quarterback plan appears to be coming into focus. It comes in two parts. They acquired a solid veteran in free agency to handle the immediate duties as the starter. In this case Andy Dalton. Then they would look to secure their guy for the future in the draft. Most likely in the 1st or 2nd round. A fairly straightforward idea.

Could all of it be a mask for their real intentions? In this case another quarterback competition. Alex Kay of Bleacher Report thinks so. With the draft close at hand, this is typically a time where more trades tend to happen as teams configure their rosters. That means more possible veterans on the move. He believes this will be the perfect time for Chicago to land the other guy who could potentially save the skins of GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy.

“Jacksonville Jaguars get: Two 2021 sixth-round picks (Nos. 205 and 229)

Chicago Bears get: QB Gardner Minshew II

Minshew would be a boon for the Chicago Bears, who have failed to swing a trade for a franchise quarterback despite being linked to both Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson this offseason. The team let incumbent starter Mitchell Trubisky walk in free agency and signed veteran Andy Dalton to a one-year deal to fill the void, but Dalton is not a viable long-term solution and may even be a mistake in the short-term…

…The Bears would likely let Minshew and Dalton duke it out for the starting job during training camp, but Minshew offers upside that Dalton doesn’t at this point in his career. Minshew’s ceiling would be a decent long-term starter, and that alone is worth trading for after striking out on the alternative options this offseason.”

Minshew remains one of the intriguing names left out there.

It’s obvious his future in Jacksonville is winding down as the Jaguars prepare to usher in the Trevor Lawrence era. While keeping the former 6th round pick as a backup would make some sense, Minshew himself no doubt would prefer to go somewhere he can compete for the starting job. Chicago is one team that fits that profile. Especially since they employ John DeFilippo who was his offensive coordinator during his rookie season.

Despite playing for an atrocious team, Minshew was efficient during his time as the starter with 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Nobody would accuse him of being the most physically gifted QB out there but he’s smart, accurate, and a charismatic leader. It’s fair to wonder how much better he could be if surrounded by a proper roster.

Bears have indicated Andy Dalton is their guy

All signs point to this being the case. There was the ‘QB1’ post on Twitter. Nagy himself even said that the plan is for Dalton to take every meaningful snap in training camp. That was a clear message that the competition last year, while well-intended, was a flop. The better course of action is to pick something they’re happy with and do everything possible to get him ready for the season.

Andy Dalton is the guy they wanted. It makes little sense to deviate from that course now. Yes, Minshew has ties to the coaching staff and yes he still has two cheap years left on his deal. The problem is he doesn’t represent what one would call a “bright” future. He looks like somebody who would be at best be another Dalton in the long run. Somebody good enough to get you to the playoffs a few times but never win there.

The Bears no doubt wish to aim higher than that.

Minshew may end up getting traded at some point. He deserves a chance to compete for a job. The guy is good enough to start. However, the opportunity for the Bears to get him has passed. Dalton was their choice. They wanted somebody with proven experience and probably somebody that wouldn’t cost a draft pick to acquire. He made the most sense. Don’t expect them to deviate from the plan now.