Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
- After aggressively pursuing Russell Wilson, the Chicago Bears were forced to settle for Andy Dalton
- The ‘will they, won’t they’ pursuit of the star QB has seen Chicago’s Super Bowl 56 odds fluctuate
- See what the Bears’ odds have settled at and whether Chicago is a worthwhile bet
Try as they might, the Chicago Bears just weren’t able to make a marriage with Russell Wilson happen. According to the Seattle Seahawks and Adam Schefter, Wilson won’t be traded ‘at this time’.
So Ryan Pace and the Bears were forced to pivot. That meant handing Andy Dalton a one-year, $10-million contract.
No one is confusing Dalton for Wilson or Deshaun Watson. So understandably the move has a negative impact on Chicago’s championship odds, which were improving on the chance they landed Russ.
Super Bowl 56 Odds
|Kansas City Chiefs||+500|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+800|
|Green Bay Packers||+1100|
|Los Angeles Rams||+1300|
|San Francisco 49ers||+1500|
|New Orleans Saints||+2500|
|New England Patriots||+3000|
Odds as of March 16th from DraftKings
The Bears actually sit 20th on the Super Bowl odds, as the dust settles on a frantic opening to the free agency tampering period.
Chicago opened the off-season way back at +6600 on average. When Wilson’s list of his four preferred destinations leaked, they inched closer to +5000. In terms of individual books, DraftKings had them as short as +4000 in anticipation of a Wilson trade.
But for now, that’s all irrelevant. So how good can the Bears be with Dalton under center?
What Does Dalton Have Left?
After flirting with the idea of bringing Dalton aboard a year ago, Chicago pulled the trigger on Tuesday.
But after seven healthy and productive seasons to open his career, Dalton has stumbled the last three.
A thumb injury ended a good 2018, but his numbers plummeted the following year. Brought in as a backup to Dak Prescott in Dallas, Dalton finished with 2,170 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions following Prescott’s season-ending injury.
He managed just a 4-5 record with Dallas.
Andy Dalton vs Mitch Trubisky: 2020
Trubisky out-performed Dalton last year thanks in large part to a red-hot second half. But a dud in the playoffs against the Saints wasn’t enough to keep his job.
But was Trubisky doing more with less compared to Dalton? When comparing the Cowboys and Bears receivers, Allen Robinson lands the highest receiving grade at 88.3 according to PFF. But Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb were the only other receivers in that group to finish with grades above 70.
The Dallas trio also accounted for more yards and TDs than Chicago’s top three.
Targets Want Out of Chicago
While there may be a downgrade in receiver depth on paper, it could be about to get much more significant.
First of all, there’s the whole Allen Robinson fiasco. The Bears didn’t want to let him walk for nothing, so they Franchise Tagged him. But according to Robinson, there’s been no contract talks since September.
“Allen Robinson is sitting there saying you kept me here for this? Let me hit the market and get out of here.”
– NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin on the Chicago Bears signing Andy Dalton
(Via NFL Network)
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) March 17, 2021
Then, in the middle of the second day of the legal tampering period, it was reported that Chicago may move Anthony Miller. Miller was overtaken by Darnell Mooney on the depth chart last year, but it would still be a blow to the receivers.
Bears are having trade discussions with other teams regarding WR Anthony Miller, per sources. Miller is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and is a productive and talented slot receiver likely to be dealt.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2021
So even though we’re early in the off-season, there’s a chance Dalton’s arsenal is significantly hampered before he even steps on the field. And that’s not even considering the fact that the Bears will be hoping for a second-year leap out of Cole Kmet.
Bears Left Looking Up in Super Bowl Picture
Despite the fact they’ll be riding their defense once again, it’s tough to back the Bears to even return to the playoffs.
If Andy Dalton is Plan A, then there’s an argument to be made that bringing back Mitch Trubisky would’ve been the better decision. That’s not even taking into account the reportedly unsettled futures of two of their top three targets.
The free agent crop at QB didn’t do the Bears any favors. But unless the Seahawks decide to move Wilson, or Ryan Pace antes up for Deshaun Watson, Chicago just isn’t worth it at this point in the off-season.
Bryan has spent the last decade working in the sports industry. He can be found conducting sideline interviews for SKY Sports and gathering post-match reactions for BBC. The sportcaster’s broadcasts stream on CBC Sports, Game TV, and Premier TV in the UK.