10 initial thoughts on Andy Dalton and the Bears

Trying to make sense of the quarterback signing that not many saw coming.

10 initial thoughts on Andy Dalton and the Bears

Good morning, frents!

One thing to consider: Had Ryan Pace selected a different quarterback in 2017, we might be toasting a different St. Patrick with green beer today.

At the very least, we wouldn't be talking about Andy Dalton.

Tuesday's results
Bulls 123, Thunder 102
Sox 4, Padres 3

Today's schedule
Spurs at Bulls (7, NBCSCH)
Dodgers at Sox (3, NBCSCH)
Padres at Cubs (8, Marquee)

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10 Andy Dalton thoughts

Sometimes you just have to laugh.

And lord knows we managed a few chuckles on Tuesday afternoon as Ryan Pace's great "everything is on the table" quarterback search brought back a 33-year-old with the same number of playoff wins (in double the starts!) as Mitchell Trubisky.

Welcome to Chicago's QB graveyard, Andy Dalton!

The news of Dalton's free-agent signing happened so quickly that I wrote down the first 10 thoughts that popped into my mind as we all tried to make the biggest funny on Twitter.

It was my hope I'd be able to make some sense of the move by doing so. I don't think that's exactly what ended up happening, but let's take a trip through my mind and add some notes.

1. "You gotta be kidding me" At the end of January, Scott Koral and I did a video on YouTube that has been viewed almost 10,000 times. We brought up the names of 15 different quarterbacks who might land in Chicago. We circled back on the same topic three weeks ago after the Colts traded for Carson Wentz and introduced some new possibilities.

You know whose name we didn't mention either time — or in this bit taped just days ago? Andy Dalton!

And that's just because he's just a guy. Not a superstar whose arrival we wanted to speak into existence. Not a flawed quarterback who still might have some potential to tap if the Bears needed to settle. Dalton is a guy who was above average on brief occasions for the Bengals and then served as an insurance policy that couldn't even pay off for the Cowboys in a god-awful NFC East last season.

Andy Dalton is not a quarterback that any other fanbase has ever particularly coveted in the past decade. Not even here in Chicago.

2. "Maybe they can still work out a trade for Russ" This thought was quickly extinguished by Adam Schefter's tweet asserting that the Bears made "an aggressive pursuit" for Russell Wilson, but that the Seahawks weren't interested in abandoning their Ferrari without a way home.

And I get that. I didn't even write about Russell with the Bears at length in this space just because I could never envision Seattle walking away from the one resource in sports that's damn near impossible to find. That doesn't mean I didn't harbor hope that Wilson (or Deshaun Watson) would still somehow land here. Whether or not it was realistic, it added to Tuesday's sense of disappointment.

3. "They can't be done, can they?" I still believe this. Dalton's deal is for one year and $10 million. No shot Ryan Pace waits until next offseason to line up a plan for 2022 and beyond.

4. "Wait, didn't you write in yesterday's newsletter that even the Bears weren't dumb enough to make such a lateral move?" Turns out I did! And — cue The Last Dance meme — the Bears apparently took that personally. I actually don't think this move was done out of insolence, but just sheer panic. Pace saw Wilson wasn't getting done while other free-agent quarterbacks started coming off the market and he felt a need to come back with someone. Why someone would also feel a need to have both Dalton and Nick Foles on the same roster is beyond me.

5. "Don't believe their spin" The signing can't become official until this afternoon, which probably means we're at least a day or two out from Pace and Dalton's press conference. They'll try and spin it positively and no one should believe a word of it. If the Bears were really that high on Andy Freakin' Dalton, they would've signed him long before the first week of May 2020, which is when the Cowboys picked him off the old toy pile and dusted him off. They certainly wouldn't have given up a draft pick and more than $20 million to pry Nick Foles from the Jaguars instead.

6. "I'd rather have Mitch for another year" Everyone's mind went here. And, look, it felt weird for all of us. But it's OK. It was probably the right thought.

7. "I feel bad for Andy Dalton" I do! He seems like a good guy, has a nice family and raised a lot of money for charity when he got the Bills into the playoffs a few years back. He's not anywhere near the embarrassment the Twitter hyperbole made him out to be on Tuesday. And yet he's going to be the onfield target once 62,000 vaccinated Bears fans return to Soldier Field to get more than a year of pent-up frustration out of their lungs. The $10 million should luckily help mend his feelings.

8. "I feel bad for Allen Robinson, too." Guy gets frozen out on extension talks for a year, gets hit with the franchise tag and then opens his phone one day to find a third quarterback he'll be asked to make look good. No wonder Bears fans like him so much; he deals with just as much disappointment as we do.

9. "I don't think I'll be able to talk myself into this one." The NFL offseason is long and I prefer to be an optimistic sort. This one is going to be a challenge, though. There's nothing to buy if this is the Bears quarterback room come training camp, because there's nothing to sell.

10. "Oh god, Ryan Pace isn't a lame duck, is he?" If there's one takeaway from Tuesday, it's that Pace has a much longer leash than you or I originally thought. I saw a few people saying this was a great move because the Bears will tank and it will expedite Pace's voyage out of town. But signing Andy Dalton isn't a move that someone makes while fearing for their job security. You just know Pace is going to come out of draft day with a young quarterback and the McCaskeys are going to give their honorary son a chance to see that guy out as well. Matt Nagy, though, will probably be the fall guy and Pace will get another shot to miss on a head coach as well.

So that's where we're at for now. Maybe the Bears will make another move. Maybe they won't. But as I've said before, there's little I wouldn't trade for a decade or more of Bears quarterback peace.

All of our brains need a rest.

Ayo a good bet?

You can't legally bet on game or tournament outcomes for Illinois schools, but there is a slight workaround that doesn't involve driving to Indiana or Iowa if you're looking to get some action.

You can bet on Ayo Dosunmu to win Most Outstanding Player at +600 or Kofi Cockburn to do the same at +2700. Dosunmu has the second-highest odds behind Gonzaga's Corey Kispert, but betting both is a reasonable facsimile of Illinois' current odds elsewhere (+700 or so) to win the whole thing.

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Zach LaVine quiets Thunder with unreal night

How much longer before we can get fans in the United Center?

Zach LaVine dropped 40 points in just 30 minutes as the Bulls took apart a shorthanded OKC team 123-102. According to StatsByState, LaVine became the first player in NBA history to score 40+, make 7+ threes, shoot 100 percent from 2-point ranger and have a plus-minus of better than +30.  

These types of performances deserve a crowd and show why most NBA execs believe LaVine and Patrick Williams are the team's only untouchables. Spurs are in tonight as the Bulls go for their third three-game wining streak of the season.

Rodon takes lead for 5th starter spot

Can we call Rodon the prodigal pitcher if he technically really never went anywhere? Yes? No? Anyway, the lefty gave up only one hit and struck out four in three innings of work against San Diego on Tuesday. That, combined with Reynaldo's less than impressive spring, makes it look like Rodon will open the season at the back end of the Sox rotation. Stay tuned.

  1. You'll probably identify with Mike Wilbon's impassioned PTI rant against Ryan Pace. I sure did. ESPN
  2. Andy Dalton's signing actually made the Bears Super Bowl odds worse. BearsWire
  3. Why the push for Russell Wilson fell through. NFL.com
  4. Adam Hoge thinks there's no way the Bears are stopping with Andy Dalton NBC Sports Chicago
  5. Jon Greenberg on the implosion of Bears Twitter. The Athletic