Could Jimmy Garoppolo end up a Bear? The QB landscape has changed since Dalton signing
The Bears' chances of being a playoff threat this season are not going to be dictated by a franchise quarterback.
There are none of those available. The cost to acquire one of the two -- Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson -- some thought might be available would be so high it would weaken the team so badly in other areas it would still be stuck in the mud.
Should the Bears improve their defense to near 2018 levels, prove the running game it found the last six weeks of 2020 was no fluke, and find the right "game manager" to play quarterback, who knows how tough they could be?
There may be a couple of those guys to be had and Andy Dalton isn't one of them.
Dalton is here because the Bears couldn't trade for Wilson, didn't want to or couldn't trade for Watson, and others that interested them weren't being shopped.
Free agency was the only avenue that offered the Bears some avenue of control, and the only four worth considering were all in the game manager mold: Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor and Jacoby Brissett.
None of that group fit the Bears' needs in order to contend but they liked Dalton the best and had to pick one or risk more struggles.
Since the Dalton signing things have changed.
Big trades by the 49ers and Panthers have made Jimmy Garoppolo and Teddy Bridgewater very available and it's likely both are better options for the Bears, and either San Francisco or Carolina would welcome Dalton to be their short-term starter or backup in a trade, maybe even straight up or along with a high day 3 draft pick.
Bridgewater, 28, has a 66.5 completion percentage and an 89.5 passer rating; Garoppolo, 29, has a 67.5 completion percentage and a 98.9 rating; and Dalton, 33, has a 62.9 completion percentage and an 87.5 rating.
Perhaps most importantly Dalton is basically a .500 QB at 74-70-2, Bridgewater is 26-24, and Garoppolo is 26-9 and 2-1 in the playoffs with his only loss coming in the final 11 minutes of a Super Bowl.
Garoppolo and Bridgewater would be more expensive, a cap issue for a cap-strapped team like the Bears, but both of their deals expire after the 2022 season and neither has any guaranteed money in 2022 if the Bears chose to move on after this season.
The Bears would need to clear another $14 million or so in cap space for Garoppolo and about $7 million for Bridgewater.
Garoppolo and Bridgewater have injury histories, but both sure look like better gambles than Dalton. With Garoppolo -- who should be priority one -- you'd get the bonus of bringing the local kid home.
Since it seems a given the Bears will not get one of the top five quarterbacks in the draft, are there potential long-range answers after that?
There are four quarterbacks in the second tier: Kyle Trask of Florida, Davis Mills of Stanford, Jamie Newman of Wake Forest and Kellen Mond of Texas A & M.
All have grades that suggest anywhere from solid backup to eventual starter and possible consistent winner in the game manager mold, and all are likely day two picks.
The big question is are the Niners quitting on Garoppolo because something's missing, or because they can't count on him to be healthy?
We know the Niners were the Bears' biggest competition for Dalton and wanted him for what he is -- a backup/mentor to their new youngster.
What's clear is Garoppolo and one of the four rookies with Nick Foles here one more year as the primary backup, or Bridgewater (if the Niners get greedy with what they want for Jimmy G.) would offer a lot more hope than the duo of Dalton and Foles.
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