It’s a sobering morning for Bears fans waking up to the reality that Andy Dalton will likely be the team’s starting quarterback in 2021. Images of Russell Wilson dominating in navy blue and orange are now replaced with the acceptance of mediocrity — but that doesn’t mean Chicago didn’t try everything to trade for Wilson.
The Bears were on a short list of teams Wilson was reportedly open to be traded to, so it seemed a case of whether the Seahawks were willing to budge, and what Chicago was prepared to give up. Now it’s reported that the team was offering a king’s ransom. According to Dan Patrick, the Bears offered:
- Three first round picks
- One third round pick
- Two starting players
This would have been the largest player trade in recent memory, a league-defining move Chicago obviously thought would take them from fringe playoff team to potential Super Bowl winner. The reality of that possibility is up for debate, but it’s moot. The Seahawks didn’t accept the offer, and appear to be rolling into the season with Wilson as starter, trying to make repair the fractured relationship with the quarterback, and make amends for their mistakes.
“It’s not like they didn’t try to get Russell Wilson. They did. They swung as big as you could swing but it went nowhere. He wasn’t being traded. At some point, you move on to the next option, & in this case, it was Andy Dalton.”-@PSchrags on the Bears’ pursuit of Russell Wilson pic.twitter.com/8Fm39yGICf
— GMFB (@gmfb) March 17, 2021
Giving Chicago credit for this extends only as far as pushing their chips to the middle of the table. Signing Dalton as their alternate option underscores how dysfunctional the Bears front office has been when it comes to finding quarterbacks. To this end the buck begins and ends with GM Ryan Pace, whose tenure with Chicago has been marred by missteps while trying to find passers.
The core issue is this: If Pace and the Bears ever really believed Dalton could be “the guy” they would have pursued him a year ago. Instead the team elected to trade for Nick Foles, a terrible move for a guy now poised to be their backup. Meanwhile Dalton signed a 1-year, $3M deal with Dallas last season. Now the Bears have signed Dalton, paying him over three times what he made with the Cowboys, and losing a fourth round pick in the trade for Foles.
Chicago has become a revolving door for quarterbacks since Pace took over the front office in 2015. Taking over at the tail end of the Jay Cutler era, Pace traded up to draft Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick, who is now a free agent after his rookie contract. They also signed Mike Glennon and Chase Daniels, both failing. Trading for Foles and now signing Dalton is just the icing on an extremely disappointing cake nobody wants to eat.
Normally I’d say Bears fans can look on the bright side and at least be confident the team didn’t mortgage the entire future, even if missing out on Wilson is a bummer, but there’s no evidence the Chicago front office could do anything of note with those picks anyway. Outside of David Montgomery in 2019 the Bears have struggled to find any help on offense in the draft in recent years.
Simply put: It’s a mess.