Report: Bears 'thrilled' to sign free agent quarterback Andy Dalton

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Alex Shapiro
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Report: Dalton was 'very high' on Bears free agent list originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

When the Bears signed Andy Dalton in free agency, it was almost universally seen as the team executing a Plan B after being denied Russell Wilson via trade. But according to a new report, inside Halas Hall the Dalton signing isn’t seen as settling on a quarterback.

"I'm told inside the building there with the coaches, they are thrilled with the Dalton pick because when it came to free agency, they broke down all the potential starters,” Jeremy Fowler said on SportsCenter, via Bleacher Report. “You had the Jameis Winstons, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Dalton, I'm told, was very high on their list.

“They felt like they've been churning out eight-win seasons, despite having some spotty quarterback play. They think that just capable play with Dalton can really elevate them to a new level and with reuniting with former offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in Cincinnati, they think they can produce there."

Dalton does have two 4,000-yard passing seasons and one 30-touchdown season to his name. No Bears quarterback in franchise history has accomplished either feat. But outside a good stretch towards the end of last season, the Bears offensive line and run game has struggled over the past couple of years. Nick Foles was brought in as a veteran quarterback who could read the defense and make good decisions with the ball last year— similar to the reasons the Bears signed Dalton this year. But when Foles got behind the Bears line, without much help from the run game, he struggled. Will things be any different with Dalton this season?

Once again, the Bears contend that he will be an upgrade over what the Bears fielded in 2020.

“Andy fits our style of offense,” Pace said last week. “When you go through it with our scouts and coaches, he can handle the drop-back game, he can handle the RPOs, the play actions, the movements. And we just felt, as we went through those free-agent quarterbacks, he’s one of the more complete quarterbacks that we evaluated in free agency, and we’re excited to have him.”

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