All the Bears had to do was wait for Andy Dalton to be cut

The Chicago Bears were in the quarterback market this offseason, and ultimately all they would have had to do is wait for Andy Dalton to be cut.

As the Cincinnati Bengals prepared to take Joe Burrow No. 1 overall, Andy Dalton was clearly on his way out. Trade speculation never really got serious, and on Thursday the Bengals cut Dalton. By making that move, they cleared $17.7 million in cap space.

Dalton’s $17.5 million salary this year was surely a big factor in the lack of a trade market for him. That’s a pretty expensive backup, and any real starting opportunities seemed to dry up.

As the Chicago Bears entered the quarterback market, in an effort to have someone compete with or outright replace Mitch Trubisky, Dalton was an easy tie. New Bears’ offensive coordinator Bill Lazor occupied the same post in Cincinnati for two seasons (2017-2018) and he was Dalton’s position coach the season before that.

The Bears ultimately acquired Nick Foles from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft. The move also came with the bloated contract Foles got from the Jaguars last offseason, and even with a quick restructure there’s no hiding how mediocre a quarterback Foles is. The restructure lowered Foles’ cap hit for this year, but it ultimately seemed to benefit him more than the team.

Dalton’s $17.5 million salary for this year would have been hard for the Bears to take on in a trade. But Foles originally had a base salary a little north of $15 million this year himself, which was only reduced via a restructuring of his deal. Dalton was entering the final year of his contract, so maybe tacking on a year to reduce this year’s cap obligation could have been done.

On a bare bones level, the Bears are committed to Foles for two seasons. Outside of his ability to void the remainder of his deal if he plays well, Chicago would still take on $10.3 million in dead money if they cut him before June 1, 2021.

In any case, Dalton can now be signed for far cheaper than $17.5 million in base salary. There’s a possible argument that he’s not any better than Foles. But the lower cost to clear that low bar, and have someone the new offensive coordinator knows well, would have been wise.

Next: 5 breakout stars to watch for the Chicago Bears in 2020

All the Bears had to do was wait for Dalton to be cut, and then sign him at their price. But they went for a quicker solution to their Trubisky problem, somehow landed on Foles and then didn’t use one of their (albeit limited) set of 2020 draft picks on a quarterback. The curse of bad quarterback moves continues in Chicago.

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