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After a much anticipated offseason, where many expected the Chicago Bears to move the needle at the quarterback position, the Bears made an underwhelming move last week signing 10 year veteran Andy Dalton to a one-year deal Custom Chicago Bears Jerseys that will see Dalton have a cap hit of just $10.5M in 2021 according to Over The Cap.
Chicago’s options heading into free agency were limited. There wasn’t a lot of starting-caliber talent at the quarterback position available, however, Dalton’s starting experience as a 10 year veteran is certainly hard to ignore. Spending nine seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and one season with the Dallas Cowboys, he’ll enter his 11th season in Chicago with 74 career wins.
Many expect Chicago to regress in 2021 and it won’t be because of Dalton. Chicago has made a number of head-scratching moves this offseason but ensuring Dalton the starting gig is one of many.
“They told me I was the starter — that was one of the reasons why I wanted to come here,” Dalton said. “So every conversation I’ve had has been that, so that’s the assurance that I’ve gotten.”
Something that has become a trend for Bears under head coach Matt Nagy is familiarity, especially at the quarterback position. Since hiring Nagy in 2018, there’s been at least one veteran quarterback on the active roster who’s worked with the offensive staff in some capacity in the past. Chase Daniel worked with Nagy in Kansas City. Last offseason, the Bears added Nick Foles via trade, who worked with Nagy, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo at some point in his career.
Add Dalton to that mix of veteran quarterbacks with ties to the Bears staff. Lazor worked with Dalton in Cincinnati for three seasons from 2016 until 2018, first as a quarterbacks coach and then as an offensive coordinator for two seasons.
“Bill and I have a great relationship,” Dalton said. “He was my quarterback coach and then he took over as offensive coordinator. I really enjoyed my time working with him. It wasn’t just him as a coach, it was him as a person, him as a friend. I think that’s gonna make this whole transition here a lot easier just because we have this past relationship. We kept in contact throughout the years, even when he wasn’t in Cincinnati. I’m excited to get back to working with him and seeing what we can do offensively.”
It’s clear that Dalton’s past relationship with Lazor played a factor into him signing with the Bears. In the three seasons that the duo worked together, Dalton passed for 10092 yards, 64 touchdowns, and completed 62.3 percent of his passes. Now that the two are working together again, Dalton hopes to impact the Bears offense moving forward.
“Offensively, we want to be multiple, we don’t want to have just one identity of this is what we’re going to do,” Dalton said. “We want to be able to change tempos, we want to be able to spread people out, but also going to dense formations and do different things. The versatility that we want to bring offensively gives you the advantage, from shift and motion to all the different things that go along with playing offense. That’s the thing that we’re excited about. There’s stuff to build on from what this team was able to be last year. For me, I’m excited to kind of dig into the playbook and dig into the tape and see exactly how we want this thing run.”
Dalton is walking into a situation where he’ll have a solid core of playmakers around him. Chicago’s playmakers feature wide receivers Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney, running backs David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen, and then emerging second-year tight end Cole Kmet. A group that on paper is solid but will need to execute and quickly develop chemistry with Dalton for the Bears offense to succeed.
“I’m a guy who brings a lot of experience and has played in a lot of games,” Dalton said. “I have done a lot in this league. That’s a big part of it. at this point in my career, you want to join a team that is competitive, that is doing things the right way, is turning in the right direction and to get a chance to come in and start for a team like this, that’s a great opportunity for me.”
Outside Halas Hall, there isn’t a lot of optimism surrounding the Bears as they continue to build towards 2021. However, Dalton certainly views the Bears differently: A team that’s heading into the right direction and can compete with anyone. Chicago still has a lot of work to do this offseason, however, the belief is that Dalton’s vision for the Bears offense, along with his past experience will allow for the Bears compete in 2021.