Dan Pompei at The Athletic gives his view point on the Bears quarterback situation and why the reaction from fans has been so negative:
“Andy Dalton is what happens when you draft Mitch Trubisky instead of Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes, get rejected by Tom Brady, and your trade offer for Russell Wilson isn’t enough to entice the Seahawks.”
“The story had been told that quarterback-needy teams like the Bears had many options going into this week.
“The story was a fairy tale.
“Dan Patrick reported the Seahawks rejected the Bears’ offer for Wilson of three first-round picks, a third, and two starters, saving the Bears from themselves. So Wilson was not available for an attainable price. And If Wilson were a realistic option for anyone, why did three of the teams on his shortlist sign other quarterbacks, and the fourth verbally recommit to the one it already had? The answer is he wasn’t an option.
“As for Watson, the Bears couldn’t match the resources of other likely suitors, and they knew it. Besides, he may not have accepted a trade to the Bears. So he wasn’t an option either.”
“The public disappointment about Dalton is understandable because the myth perpetuated by the uninformed and the gullible was the Bears could acquire a quarterback who could rise above their sad history at the position.
Long time readers of this blog will know that I love Pompei. But he’s way off base if he thinks Bears fans were hanging their hopes on acquiring the likes of Wilson while the Seahawks ate a $39 million cap hit. Like many of those associated with the NFL, Pompei is under-estimating the average non-casual football fan, probably because he’s been listening to too many meat heads calling into sports talk radio.
In any case, most Bears fans are angry for reasons based closer to reality. Starting with how the Bears got into this situation in the first place.
Pompei mentions that the Bears missed on Trubisky. Fair enough. But we all understand that those things happen. He forgot to mention that the Bears signed a quarterback in Nick Foles last year who flat out can’t stand in the pocket in the face of a pass rush anymore. But along the same lines, we all know that talent evaluation in the NFL isn’t an exact science. We, or at least I, can forgive that too.
But here’s what I can’t forgive. The Bears offered three first-round picks, a third, and two starters for Wilson because that’s what franchise quarterbacks in the NFL are worth. If that’s the case, how do you only draft one quarterback in six years? And that one was drafted more or less out of a desperate and immediate need.
Sure the chances of hitting on one are low. But if you do hit on one, you hit the jackpot. And you can’t win if you don’t play.
Bears moves leading up to free agency and since it started indicate one thing. That there has been no plan for the future beyond the current year at any time.
Pace has spent two years squeezing out every dollar of cap space and pushing off hits into the future to win now. He has traded away future picks to move up to draft the likes of Anthony Miller and Trevis Gipson. But the thought of reaching just a little to draft a player that couldn’t help in the current year was repugnant.
And now the bill has come due.
Pompei contends that there were no realistic options that better than Dalton. I disagree. Strongly.
Dalton is 33 years old and we know who he is. The odds that he’ll be better with the Bears than he was last year with a more talented Cowboys offense are miniscule.
For argument’s sake, let’s take the possibility of a trade off the table because it takes two teams to make one and we don’t know what the situation is with other teams.
On the same day that the Bears signed Dalton, a 28 year old Jacoby Brissett signed as a back up for the Dolphins. Is Brissett better than Dalton? No. But there’s at least the possibility that with a change of scenery and a new coach, the light could come on.
Similarly, Ryan Fitzpatrick signed with the Washington Football Team. Fitzpatrick is 39 years old but has been far better than Dalton the last two years as he essentially carried a terrible Dolphins offense.
Each of these players offered something that Dalton doesn’t. The possibility, however remote, that the Bears could have been better in 2021.
As it is, the Bears are a team that wasn’t close to being able to compete with good teams for a championship is 2020. They have Dalton, an older and, at least statistically, less capable replacement for Trubisky. And there is the distinct possibility that the team, with a history of drafting for the moment and with a front office and coaching staff under pressure to win in 2021, won’t draft a quarterback.
The fans of the 31 NFL teams that don’t win the Super Bowl live on hope. Now I ask you. If you are a Bears fan under these circumstances, what hope is there?
I’ll hang up and listen for your answer.