When the dust settled, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace‘s search for an answer at quarterback ended in what most would consider the worst-case scenario. Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson was always a long shot. But the decision-makers up at Halas Hall decided to indulge fans’ angst publicly. Now they should have to bear the wrath of a riled-up fan base that feels taken for a ride.
Bears Answer in Quarterback Search is One No One Wanted to Hear
All Sizzle, No Steak
It began with Carson Wentz. Reports the Bears were in on the former Eagle made little sense given his final interactions with former Eagle’s head coach (and Matt Nagy‘s friend) Doug Pederson. Things then ramped up into Watson before quickly fans latched onto Wilson.
All of that just to end up with Andy Dalton. With all due respect to him, $10 million (with another $3 million in incentives) for another Nick Foles makes absolutely no sense, especially given their cap situation could cost them Kyle Fuller. It was just last off-season when the talk was between acquiring Foles or Dalton.
The Texans insist have no plans on moving Watson so the Bears can’t atone for Pace’s 2017 NFL Draft blunder. Seattle reportedly turned down their offers citing “no interest” in trading Wilson with a caveat of “at this time”.
That, tweets about nothing preventing the Bears from offering more, and Brad Biggs reporting Dalton’s signing doesn’t rule out a trade for Wilson all need to be stored away. Mostly to keep hope alive for Bears fans. But also because these are all connected individuals who may be speaking via these channels. One such avenue could be waiting until the draft when picks from the 2024 season would be eligible to be traded.
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
Life Imitates Art
Remember that episode of the Simpsons when Ralph Wiggum thought Lisa like him because she gave him a Valentine? That was Bears fans with Wilson’s (agent’s) list of acceptable trade destinations.
They became obsessed, whether it was proving or disproving, that the rumors were true. Then, it was announced the Bears had just missed out on Jameis Winston. It was their first potential “miss” since they were never in on Wentz. But the momentum of their interest in Dalton quickly turned into the announcement of a deal right as the word came via Adam Schefter that Seattle said no.
That’s when what felt like the vast majority of Bears fans looked something like young Ralphie when Lisa broke the news she, in fact, did not like him. Absolutely brutal.
What happens next is key. The Bears have been getting by on lore for years and it’s coming back to bite them. The clamoring about maintaining the status quo grows from a base that has less and less attachment to ’85.
If anyone from 1920 Football Dr tries selling Dalton as more than Plan C, they should be laughed at. The truth is they should be “turning over every stone” just as they did on the trade and free-agent markets.
Like Nagy said of the off-season in general, the draft is full of quarterbacks. But only three are “locks” with a fourth, Trey Lance, occupying the perennial upside prospect.
The problem the Bears face here is both where they sit in the draft order and that unless they get one of the top prospects, they won’t get the same benefit of the doubt they would have gotten had this been the plan all along.
Now can they enter next season with Mac Jones (who would have been welcomed two weeks ago) or Kyle Trask sitting behind Dalton and still get fans excited? They can build up the offensive line, find another wide receiver, land a nickel back, and find a pass rusher. It would still be disappointing after what we thought could be coming down the pipeline.
About an hour ago DP was told that the #Bears offered Seattle the following for Russell Wilson:
-Three 1st Round picks
-a 3rd Round pick
-2 starters (Was not told who those starters were) pic.twitter.com/lOgH2ZuLVC
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) March 17, 2021
The press conference for this, if there is one, will be interesting. Fans will want to know if there is a follow-up move even if it’s some vague reference (as is the Bears style) to one of the prospects above.
Why should fans believe Dalton can be a difference-maker for this team? His numbers are on par with, and even worse than, Foles and the departed Mitchell Trubisky.
But what does this say about Pace and Nagy? Being allowed to sign Dalton, albeit to a one-year deal, and draft a rookie (if that ends up happening) both signal a longer leash on the embattled brain trust than expected.
Dalton being brought in to start must mean they expect the defense to improve. But they shouldn’t even be counting on it to maintain as age, injuries, and depth concerns threaten that unit yet again. Fuller is looking for more money. Akiem Hicks is obviously one year older, closer to free agency, and has missed time in each of the last two seasons. And Allen Robinson…yikes.
Cue Denny Green
Some will wonder how the Bears could have handled this better and the answer is simple. By not literally screwing it up at every step. The problem is many want to view everything in professional sports on a year-to-year basis. While that is certainly how the rosters should be evaluated it holds little weight in front office assessments where the long view is paramount.
That’s where the Bears as an organization have long failed. There is no long-term plan and rarely has there been. That’s why no two parts of the franchise (front office, coaching staff, defense, offense, etc) are on the same timeline.
More details of Chicago’s pursuit of Wilson came out on Wednesday morning as Ian Rapoport reported Pace met with Seahawks general manager John Schneider in Fargo for a secret meeting. Pace left empty-handed. The meeting even taking place signifies there was interest but Pace wasn’t willing to meet Schneider’s asking price. Unacceptable after all that’s transpired.
It’s reminiscent of the late Dennis Green’s now-infamous rant. The Bears are who you thought they were. But fans cannot let them off the hook as Green’s Cardinals did. We already covered how dismissive their end-of-season press conference was. Well, there have been many stories written in the hours after the news expressing just how poorly received the news was.
Bears Come Up Lame in Quarterback Search
No, the Bears can’t force the Seahawks to move Wilson. But Wilson can. Maybe he will need to turn up the heat to make something shake. What isn’t a concern, as of now at least, is another team swooping in. If a better offer was out there, it would have been taken. So folks clamoring about the Jets and the number-two pick just remember how far they are and ask why they would do that with so many holes to fill?
As for winning with the traditional “Bears style” of football (defense and a running game), name the last Super Bowl champion to win that way. Even those that have reached like the 49ers a few years ago found that they needed a quarterback when it mattered most.
Yes, you need a solid offensive line. No one is denying that. You also need weapons because, obviously, the quarterback can’t throw to himself. But you absolutely need a quarterback. It’s not even an opinion at this point so much as implicit given the rules of the game today. The Bears have failed to catch up so far and don’t appear close to figuring out how to anytime soon.
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