- The Chicago Bears traded up in the NFL Draft to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in the first round
- The Bears say veteran Andy Dalton remains QB1 on their depth chart
- A look at the Bears’ QB situation and the odds on who will start in Week 1 can be found below
The Chicago Bears picked their quarterback of the future last week when they traded up to take Ohio State’s Justin Fields with 11th-overall pick.
Whether Fields will be the Bears’ starting QB in Week 1 remains to be seen. The Bears also have two veteran quarterbacks on their roster in Andy Dalton and Nick Foles.
The oddsmakers believe Fields will begin the season holding a clipboard.
Odds to Be Bears’ Starting QB in Week 1 of 2021 Season
|Player||Odds at DraftKings|
Odds as of May 3rd.
Pace Makes His Move
Once Fields got through the top-ten picks without being selected last Thursday, Bears general manager Ryan Pace made his move.
Pace traded the Bears’ first-round choice, 20th-overall, to the Giants to move into New York’s spot at No. 11. The Bears also sent a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft along with a first-rounder and a fourth-rounder in 2022 to the Giants.
The pick seemed to make everyone happy in Chicago.
— Tommy Hawk (@BhawkTommyHawk) May 2, 2021
Fields had an outstanding two-year run at Ohio State following his transfer from Georgia. He was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year both seasons while throwing for 5,373 yards and 63 touchdowns with just nine interceptions. He also led the Buckeyes to the conference title and the College Football Playoff both years.
Last season, Fields had 2,100 passing and 22 TD passes in the pandemic-shortened season. Ohio State made it to the national championship game before losing to Alabama.
— Bear Down Blog (@BearDown_Blog) May 3, 2021
Dalton the Favorite
Both Pace and coach Matt Nagy said following the draft that Andy Dalton remains the starter. The Bears signed Dalton to a one-year, $10-million contract as a free agent in March.
However, Pace also said, “we gotta see how it all plays out.”
Dalton spent the first nine seasons of his career as the starter with the Cincinnati Bengals. He then signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent during last offseason to be Dak Prescott’s backup.
Dalton wound up starting nine games after Prescott sustained a season-ankle injury in Week 5. Dalton completed 64.9% of his passes for 2,170 yards and 14 touchdowns with eight interceptions and had a passer rating of 87.3.
Andy Dalton and Michael Gallup coming in super clutch for the #Cowboys. This is an incredible grab.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) October 11, 2020
The Cowboys were 4-5 in Dalton’s starts. While not great, Dallas had a 2-5 record when Prescott, Ben DiNucci or Garrett Gilbert started.
In Cincinnati, the 33-year-old Dalton led the Bengals to the playoffs four times and was selected to three Pro Bowls.
Is Fields Ready to Take Field?
The question surrounding Fields is whether he is ready to step right into a QB1 job in the NFL or if he needs developmental time. In addition to Dalton, the Bears have another experienced quarterback in Nick Foles.
Draft analysts are split on whether Fields is NFL-ready. For his part, Fields believes he can be a plug-and-play QB in the pros but what else would you expect him to say?
Only one rookie quarterback was a starter in Week 1 last season. That was Joe Burrow, who was chosen first overall by the Bengals and replaced Dalton.
Some Joe Burrow highlights to get you in the mood for the new episode of The Unofficial Bengals Podcast! Available on iTunes Spotify YouTube and most podcast platforms. https://t.co/zDwIdXojgA Brought to you by the @ZediaNETWORK #bengals pic.twitter.com/7fF5KoUrhQ
— The Unofficial Bengals Podcast (@CincyBengalsPod) October 2, 2020
Burrow played in 10 games before a knee injury ended his season. He passed for 2,688 yards and 13 touchdowns with five interceptions. The Bengals went just 2-7-1 in his starts and 2-4 in their six other games.
San Diego Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, he did not become the starter until Week 2 after Tyrod Taylor suffered a punctured lung.
Bears Must Win Now
It will be interesting to see if Pace, Nagy and Fields are together for very long.
While the Bears made the playoffs last season despite an 8-8 record, they were routed by the New Orleans Saints in an NFC wild card game. The franchise hasn’t won a postseason game since the 2010 season and there is heat on Pace and Nagy to end that drought.
Furthermore, the duo needs to get it right with Fields after whiffing on Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears traded up a spot to No. 2 in the 2017 draft then took Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
Trubisky had his moments. Just not enough.
— NFL (@NFL) September 17, 2020
The Bears went 29-21 in four seasons when Trubisky started, and he took them to the playoffs twice. However, Chicago declined the fifth-year option on his rookie contract and Trubisky signed with the Buffalo Bills in March to back up Josh Allen.
With Pace and Nagy in win-now mode, Dalton seems the best bet to open the season as the starter even if he doesn’t present great value at better than even money.