The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with Andy Dalton on Tuesday afternoon, and frankly, it’s a surprise that Twitter is still functional in the Chicagoland area as of Wednesday morning.
Jokes aside, most Bears fans were extremely disappointed to learn the news, especially after the Bears had been linked to Russell Wilson for weeks.
Instead, Chicago gave Dalton a deal worth $10 million, with an extra $3 million in incentives. Dalton was a free agent last offseason, but the Bears decided to trade a fourth-round pick for Nick Foles.
Now, it looks like they will have both.
Mind you that Dalton signed with the Cowboys for $3 million last offseason. And after going 4-5 and averaging 6.5 yards per pass attempt in Dallas with excellent receivers, the Bears more than tripled his salary in a year where cap space is precious.
The oddsmakers at William Hill Sportsbook were quick to adjust to the news.
William Hill lengthens Bears 2021 Super Bowl odds
Going into the day, the Bears were 40/1 to win the Super Bowl at William Hill.
After the Dalton signing, they are 50/1.
Chicago is also 50/1 at the other Illinois sportsbooks: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers and Barstool. They are 45/1 at PointsBet.
It’s easy to rail on Dalton as an uninspired quarterback choice, but the skepticism likely has more to do with what the Bears aren’t getting.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter followed up the Dalton news with this Wilson nugget:
Chicago made "a very aggressive pursuit" of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, per sources, and the Bears were told that Seattle is not trading him at this time.
The Bears were one of four teams Wilson's agent named as a place of interest. Now Chicago has an agreement with Andy Dalton.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2021
If Wilson was going to be traded, the Bears seemed like the most likely destination.
The three other teams Schefter is alluding to in the tweet are the Cowboys, Raiders and Saints.
The Cowboys then gave Dak Prescott a huge contract, while the Saints gave new deals to Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Las Vegas, meanwhile, seems content with Derek Carr.
That left Chicago, or no trade at all. Barring a change, it looks like Wilson will stay put.
Why Chicago’s Super Bowl hopes are bleak sans Wilson
The Bears went 8-8 last season, and based on their cap situation and draft position, there aren’t many ways to upgrade besides a massive quarterback move.
Now that a significant trade looks unlikely, it’s hard to see why the Chicago Bears will be better in 2021.
Dalton is the only new player the Bears have signed in free agency. And by the numbers, he was worse than Mitchell Trubisky in 2020.
The Bears will pick 20th in the upcoming NFL Draft, probably not high enough to nab an impact quarterback. They may trade up for one, but even then, a rookie QB likely isn’t leading them anywhere of note in 2021.
If a quarterback happens to fall to No. 20, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones are two names to keep an eye on.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace was reportedly at Lance’s pro day, and even met with Seahawks top football executive John Schneider about a Wilson deal while there.
Chicago has a new defensive coordinator in Sean Desai, and perhaps he can lead a talented unit back to the top of the defensive rankings.
Even so, there’s little reason to think the offense will be average, let alone good.
Same story, different year, Bears fans.