Bears Release QB Matt Blanchard, Sign QB Dalyn Williams

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

On this site at least QB Matt Blanchard is a fan favorite. I’ve seen normally sensible commentors predicting Blanchard beating out Hoyer for the #2 job and knocking Fales off the roster all together. Apparently we have a lot of readers who are Wisconsin-Whitewater fans (where Blanchard went 25-0).

In my quarterback depth chart review, I had Hoyer locked in at the #2 spot, but I got plenty of feedback from fans who thought Blanchard had a shot at the primary back-up job. Well, that ship has sailed. Blanchard isn’t even around anymore to compete with David Fales for the developmental QB role.

The Bears released Blanchard this morning, after his 2nd stint with the team under two different regimes, and replaced him on the 90-man roster with rookie QB Dalyn Williams from Dartmouth. Williams was invited to last month’s rookie mini-camp and apparently impressed enough to earn a shot at the 3rd QB job. He also had a try out with the Steelers during their rookie mini-camp where he impressed as well.

There aren’t many players who make the NFL from Dartmouth, the last was in 2008, but Williams has some intriguing traits. He’s under-sized for an NFL QB at 5’11, 205 pounds, but he’s got enough intriguing traits to make some noise at training camp.

Despite Williams small stature, he has a cannon arm and throws one of the most accurate deep balls of any of quarterback in the 2016 draft. His accuracy is his best trait with the ability to throw receivers open on both long and intermediate routes. Williams also moves well in the pocket with the ability to extend plays while keeping his eyes down field. There were some draft analysts who were very high on Williams including Emory Hunt from Football Gameplan who ranked Williams as the #2 overall QB.

That seems like a massive stretch for a player who isn’t listed on most analysts top 25 QB lists. Hunt goes on to compare Williams to a un-refined Russell Wilson from his days at NC State. Williams has a similar build, decent speed (4.76), and the ability to not only extend plays but find receivers downfield on the move.

In his last two years as a starter Williams threw for 4,711 yards, 38 touchdowns, and just 8 interceptions. He also used his speed and escape-ability to rush for 1,494 yards and 19 career TDs. Williams gives the Bears something new at the QB position, a player who can make things happen on the move and may have a more accurate deep ball than any QB on the Bears roster.

The practice squad is Williams most likely destination where he can hone his skills while Hoyer and Fales back up Cutler. Blanchard was out of practice squad options which may have more to do with why the Bears released him than the play of Williams.