Despite the signing of Andy Dalton, the Chicago Bears still need to find their franchise quarterback. Expect the team to draft one in this draft, but maybe not as early as expected.
At the start of the new NFL year, the Chicago Bears parted ways with Mitch Trubisky, the quarterback they felt would be the franchise quarterback. After missing out on trading for one of the top quarterbacks in the league, Russell Wilson, Chicago quickly turned their attention to signing Andy Dalton. Despite the signing, he is just a bridge quarterback. The Bears still need to find their franchise quarterback.
General manager Ryan Pace will try to find his quarterback again in this year’s draft. He’ll look at all the tapes and conduct the interviews to find his guy. While some feel he could make a big splash and trade up for his guy, don’t hold your breath looking for that to happen. Giving up a lot of draft capital to acquire one of the top quarterbacks in the league is one thing. In their eyes, however, they don’t want to do it for drafting an unknown. Look at the ridicule Pace received for drafting Trubisky at number two overall. If he leverages the future and this new guy doesn’t work out, the criticism will be enormous and never-ending.
So what do the Bears do?
If the Bears do move up to draft a quarterback, it’ll probably be in the second or third round. It’ll require less capital to move in those rounds than it is to go up from number 20 to the top ten, and even more to get into the top five. That’s where they’ll need to be in order to find one of the top quarterback prospects. The Bears have too many holes to fill for them to give away draft capital on unknowns.
After the top five quarterbacks, the next three likely don’t go in the first round. They are Kellen Mond of Texas A&M, Davis Mills of Stanford, and Kyle Trask of Florida. All are projected to go in rounds two or three.
These prospects are talented, but each still has to be more polished. A great situation for them would be to sit for a season before stepping in and battling for a starting spot. Therefore, going to Chicago would be a good thing for each prospect. No, Andy Dalton isn’t a Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes, but he is a solid upgrade from Trubisky. He can give the Bears a decent season in 2021, allowing whatever prospect to develop. I’m sure Dalton knows he isn’t a player a team gives a multi-year, big-money contract. He’ll be a good bridge for the next guy.
But isn’t this a do-or-die season for the Bears leadership?
Many people expected the Chicago Bears to fire either Pace or head coach Matt Nagy. Despite two playoff appearances in the last three seasons, the Bears have no playoff wins and finished just 8-8 the last two seasons. The new rule allowing an extra team into the playoffs in each conference helped the Bears.
The Bears ownership didn’t fire either of them, however. Team chairman George McCaskey still said the team had to improve, but liked where they were going (contrary to what many fans feel). That means this is their final shot, right? Not so fast…
The Bears owners like both Pace and Nagy. They probably wouldn’t give them a do-or-die season like this one to turn things around. The salary cap was reduced because of the COVID virus and that handicapped the Bears and many other teams.
Additionally, Nagy’s contract runs through 2022. If he and Pace get fired after this season, the McCaskeys will again have to pay a coach to stay home. They did that for Marc Trestman and John Fox. The McCaskeys don’t want to do it a third straight time.
Because of those reasons, the Chicago Bears likely keep Pace and Nagy through the 2022 season. That is unless the 2021 season just falls off the rails and the team wins three games or so. The salary cap will go up greatly in 2022 and Pace could make a great deal more moves. If you noticed, a lot of his signings were one-year deals. Next season, the Bears will be in great shape with a lot of salary cap space to go out and make a splash. Then, in 2022, if the team performs very well with the new players (and the quarterback prospect ready to take over), Pace and Nagy may save their jobs.
The question now is whether Pace can pick the right quarterback prospect. He’s missed on many quarterback moves in the past so he better get some help in determining which quarterback prospect to go after. If not, he’ll need to look for employment elsewhere.