The nicest thing I can say about Andy Dalton is that he is a cromulent quarterback. And frankly, I can’t say that about enough Bears quarterbacks. It’s one reason Dalton is joining Chicago’s football team in the first place.
He is no flash-in-the-pan, one-hit wonder. When he was at the peak of his powers in Cincinnati, Dalton was a solid professional quarterback. He could guide an offense that had star-power at skill positions while a Marvin Lewis orchestrated defense put in work. In other words, if the Bears seek to be competitive in 2021, then they’ll need that Dalton to show up on Sundays in Chicago.
Alright, let’s get to know the new guy.
Player, Age (in 2021), Position
Andrew Gregory Dalton, 34, quarterback
Contract: 1 year, $10 million ($5.3M cap hit in 2021 because of two void years)
Nickname: Red Rifle
6-2, 220 pounds
2020 stats: 11 games (9 starts) 64.9 completion pct., 2,170 yards, 14 TD, 8 INT, 87.3 rating
Career stats: 144 games (142 starts) 62.2 completion pct., 33,764 yards, 218 TD, 126 INT, 87.5 rating
PFF grades: 69.6 (2020), 66.5 (2019), 81.9 (2018), 72.7 (2017), 70.6 (2016), 80.4 (2015), 69.4 (2014), 73.8 (2013), 64.5 (2012), 63.7 (2011).
Accolades: Pro Bowl (2011, 2014, 2016), NFL Top 100 No. 35 (2016), AFC Offensive Player of the Month (October 2013, October 2015), AFC Offensive Player of the Week (Week 10, 2012; Week 6, 2013; Week 14, 2013)
Dalton’s biggest accomplishments aren’t even listed above. That’s because I would consider posting five winning seasons – including four consecutive years with 10+ wins – and starting four playoff games FOR THE BENGALS the most impressive thing Dalton has done in his professional career.
That’s Certainly One Way to Spin It
Andy Dalton is a huge upgrade from what the Bears were working with last year. I'm not sure what all the ruckus is all about.
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) March 17, 2021
Honestly, it’s a little weird how Andy Dalton is treated like he’s Nathan Peterman. He’s a good quarterback. Made the playoffs 5 years in a row in Cincy. Played well at the end of last year. https://t.co/WzxHYIC4Wr
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 17, 2021
Extrapolate Dalton’s nine starts over a full 16-game season, and they look like this: 368/571, 3,660 yards, 25 TD, 14 INT, 87.3 rating.
Now, take Dalton’s seven starts after returning from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and do the same: 375/567, 3,927 yards, 30 TD, 11 INT, 95.1 rating.
If Dalton could put up either of those stat lines for the 2021 Bears, it would go down as one of the most prolific statistical seasons a Bears QB has ever put together. And that’s such a sad factoid, but one that summarizes Chicago’s QB history in a snapshot.
Dalton was (1) knew of the Bears’ efforts to acquire Russell Wilson and (2) is cognizant of the avenues in which the team can still acquire another quarterback. So let’s not overthink this. Dalton is the bridge to a quarterback-to-be-named-later that Nick Foles was supposed to be. That Chicago had to sign Dalton to be that guy after trading for Foles last year suggests this front office shouldn’t be in charge of picking who’s at the other end of the bridge. However, that’s a different conversation for another post down the line.
For the moment, Dalton is a placeholder. More than that, Dalton should be a functional quarterback in what should still be viewed as a QB-friendly system. Over the years, Dalton has shown he can read defenses, operate successfully as a distributor in an offense, and proved he could lead the stinkin’ Bengals to the playoffs!
I mean, come on, what else does a guy have to prove to get some respect around here?
Well, for Bears fans, he’s got a whole lot to prove…