The Bears made an earth-shaking move at the quarterback position on Tuesday, but it wasn’t quite the tremor that many were hoping for.
The Bears reportedly agreed to a 1-year, $10 million deal with free agent Andy Dalton. That set off Bears Nation into a Twitter riot. Fans were cussing out the Bears’ organization, making obnoxious memes, calling for general manager Ryan Pace to get fired.
You know, pretty much doing what Twitteraholics and keyboard bullies do.
Dalton, the long-time Cincinnati Bengal, spent last season as a fill-in starter for injured Dak Prescott in Dallas. Dalton had an admirable, nine-year career in Cincinnati where he only twice threw for less than 3300 yards — both injury-shortened seasons. He also threw for over 4,000 yards twice — sadly, a mark never reached by a Bears quarterback. Dalton is also a three-time Pro Bowler.
Mike Glennon 2.0
You’ll have to pardon me if I don’t light my torch and hoist my pitchfork just yet.
I can understand Bears fans’ frustration with the ongoing quarterback drought. I can sympathize with their anger and their desire for the Bears to do whatever it takes to secure that long-awaited “messiah” at the quarterback position.
But that doesn’t mean I agree with their reaction to the Dalton news.
For starters, I’m not convinced that the Bears are done addressing the position this offseason. I think it’s more likely that the Dalton signing is Mike Glennon 2.0 than any kind of fool’s gold.
Back in 2017, the Bears inked Glennon to a 3-year deal and then drafted Mitch Trubisky one month later. Glennon started four games for the Bears before yielding to Trubisky and then was never seen again — except from the sideline when his giraffe-like neck extended up from the bottom of your television screen.
Dalton agreed to a one-year deal with the Bears, reportedly for $10 million. The Glennon deal was essentially a one-year deal for something like $18.5 million.
So, the Bears signed a much better quarterback for a lot less in adding Dalton.
Is Dalton really Pace’s “answer” at the quarterback position?
Even though I believe Dalton is a much better player than Glennon was, that doesn’t mean I’m fully on the “Red Rifle” bandwagon. My point in comparing the two is that I don’t think Pace is done yet.
Clearly, Dalton is just a “bridge” quarterback, hence the one-year deal. Whether Dalton is the Dearborn Street Bridge or the Golden Gate Bridge remains to be seen.
I’m still convinced, until I see Dalton and Foles dueling it out in training camp and one of them taking the large percentage of snaps during the 2021 season, that Pace is not done yet addressing the position.
Maybe the Bears draft a quarterback, or perhaps they still explore trades with other teams. But I hardly think Pace went into his most critical offseason yet as Bears general manager thinking, “Man, if we get Andy Dalton, our jobs are secure.”
The Russell Wilson dream is not dead yet
By all accounts and reports, the Bears were aggressive in trying to pursue Russell Wilson. Pace and Seahawks general manager John Schneider reportedly met to discuss trade possibilities, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
In the end, the Seahawks just didn’t want to trade Wilson right now.
There are conflicting reports as to whether the Seahawks don’t want to trade Wilson at all, or whether they don’t want to do it prior to June 1 because they’ll take a severe cap hit if they do.
I’m going to assume the former, but prepare for the latter. Meaning: I would expect Pace to at least pick up the phone on June 1 and inquire again about Wilson. And if that’s the case, the Bears did need some kind of backup solution in place.
If the Bears didn’t sign or draft anyone and waited all the way until June 1 to acquire Wilson, and then the Seahawks at that point said, “no thanks,” then what would happen? The Bears wouldn’t have any upgrade at the position.
They needed to at least sign somebody to upgrade the position, even if minimally. And now if the Russell Wilson dream is indeed dead and buried, they can move on to Plan B (or J or Q or whatever level Dalton is).
The Draft will tell us a lot about the Bears’ plans
In a little over a month, we’ll get a clearer picture about what else the Bears might potentially do to improve the quarterback position.
If the Bears either draft a quarterback at Pick 20, or even trade up to select one in the first round, the Wilson dream likely is dead at that point.
If the Bears draft a quarterback somewhere in the middle of the draft, that makes things more cloudy, as a mid-round prospect is not likely to save Pace’s job in 2021.
If, however, the Bears don’t draft a quarterback at all, that still leaves a small window of opportunity and hope that the Bears are not going to give up on Wilson and will revisit the trade talks after June 1.
At this point, I don’t have much confidence in the Bears acquiring Wilson or Deshaun Watson. But I also have a hard time believing they’re done addressing the position.