Grading QB Andy Dalton’s deal with the Chicago Bears: C+

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Mark Schofield
·2 min read
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In what probably feels like a letdown for Chicago Bears fans after weeks of Russell Wilson speculation, the organization does indeed have a new quarterback.

Andy Dalton.

After a season spent with the Dallas Cowboys as the backup behind Dak Prescott, the former Cincinnati Bengals signal-caller has his third NFL home in three seasons as the potential starting quarterback for the Bears. Ian Rapoport was among the first to report the deal for Dalton:

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Here is the good news for the Bears: They might finally have a quarterback who can simply run Matt Nagy’s offense appropriately. As we saw from Dalton’s action this past season, his strength right now as a quarterback comes in the realm of getting the ball out on time and in rhythm.

Dalton’s experience allows him to be a point guard in most offensive systems, where he can make throws on time and in rhythm to break down most defensive coverage schemes. He wins more with his mind at this point in his career, and his film from 2020 has a few different examples of that in action:

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Even now, Dalton remains a potential threat as a runner. A team will not build an offense around what he can do with his legs but he is viable enough to keep backside edge defenders honest on zone read designs. For most teams Dalton can do in 2021 what he did for Dallas in 2020: Keep your season alive if the worst-case scenario unfolds.

Of course, Bears fans might consider this the worst-case scenario unfolding…

Yes, this is not what many in Chicago were hoping for. But given the Bears’ draft position, they would have needed to swing a big trade to get in position for one of the top quarterbacks in this draft cycle. Given their cap situation, attracting a bigger-named free agent might have been impossible. This at least gives Nagy a player who can run the system and be an upgrade over what was in place. Whether it is enough of an upgrade to move the needle and get the Bears deeper into the postseason remains to be seen.