Bears Reportedly Higher On Andy Dalton Than People Realize

andy dalton
Dec 27, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore talks with quarterback Andy Dalton (14) after a touchdown in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The thing to remember about the NFL offseason is the fans can tend to create false narratives without realizing it. What they think is reality turns out to be false. When the Chicago Bears signed Andy Dalton, plenty of people saw it as GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy admitting defeat. The two men begrudgingly accepting mediocrity after a failed push to land Russell Wilson.

Those people may be shocked to hear the truth. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN provided several updates he’s been hearing from around the NFL after the first wave of free agency. His nugget on the Bears was among the more interesting. Contrary to popular myth, he has it on pretty good authority that Chicago wanted Dalton and was quite happy to get him when the deal came to fruition.

“Unlike many Bears fans frustrated with GM Ryan Pace’s quarterback misses, Chicago is actually pretty pumped about the Andy Dalton addition.

The Bears identified the potential starters in the free-agency list, and that list was fairly short: Jameis Winston, Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick and maybe a bridge-type like Joe Flacco. Dalton stood out on that list because of his steady decision-making and OC Bill Lazor’s connection with the player from their Cincinnati days.”

How can this be true?

If the Bears coveted Dalton so much, why didn’t they try to sign him last year when he was a free agent? As always, context is key. Dalton didn’t become a free agent until April 30th following the NFL draft. Nobody was sure what the Cincinnati Bengals were going to do with him. Some even speculated he’d stick around to back up Joe Burrow. Chicago couldn’t afford to wait that long. So they traded for Nick Foles.

This time around, Dalton was available at the right time and they didn’t hesitate to pounce. People will point out his average season last year for the Dallas Cowboys. They conveniently ignore how well he actually finished. Over the final seven games, he threw for over 1,700 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Good for a 95.1 passer rating. Considering he did that following a concussion and a bout with COVID-19? It’s pretty impressive.

Andy Dalton isn’t expected to be a hero. Just help.

The contract the Bears gave him speaks for itself. One year for $10 million. That is cheap in terms of NFL starting quarterback money. Chicago offered him an opportunity. He took it. What he does with it will depend on him. The Bears haven’t made any promises beyond that. Their QB intentions remain wide open. If an opportunity comes along to acquire somebody they like long-term? They’ll do it.

Barring that, the signs now point to Pace and Nagy crafting a plan to build the roster around Dalton. Fortify his protection and find him as many weapons as possible. The 33-year old has proven he can still be effective when he has help. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor knows this. In 2017, Dalton threw zero touchdowns and four interceptions in his first two games. When Lazor was promoted to offensive coordinator in Week 3, the quarterback finished with 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions over the final 14 games.

Put him in favorable situations and he’ll deliver.

Chicago knew what they wanted to do this offseason. They wanted to keep the roster as intact as possible while still upgrading at quarterback. In their minds, they’ve accomplished this task with Dalton. Now they have a big opportunity to give the roster a further boost next month in the draft. If they have similar success as last year? This could be an interesting season to come.

SOURCETim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.
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