Why Chicago Bears fans need Andy Dalton to perform well

Chicago Bears (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears announced that Andy Dalton will be making the start against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. This obviously takes almost all of the luster away from the game. To start, two losing teams are featured, and there is almost no chance either team makes a late-season run.

Beyond that, this entire season is about the development of their rookie quarterback Justin Fields. The losses are fine so long as Fields is growing as a quarterback. With him on the sideline, there is very little to get excited about in this game.

However, for the Bears fans looking for a reason to cheer for the team and Andy Dalton, there are reasons.

Andy Dalton could become a popular free agent

Fans will think that this sounds crazy, but teams around the NFL are going to be watching this game. Some General Managers will be imagining a life with Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback. No, Dalton is not going to come in and win a starting spot with a game against the Lions.

However, similar to Chicago in 2021, there are going to be teams who draft a quarterback in the first round and want a veteran on board. First, it is smart to have the veteran avoid desperation when entering the draft. Second, we see from the New York Jets that there is a huge value in having a backup.

Rookie quarterbacks need a veteran that they can lean on in training camp, practices, and in the film room. Beyond that, a rookie quarterback may not be ready for week one, or struggle, or get injured. At that point, the presence of a trusted veteran becomes magnified.

Andy Dalton has done everything the Chicago Bears wanted from him. He never made a fuss when they drafted Justin Fields and was always the one to hug him, high-five him, and be in his ear on the sideline.

Dalton helped Fields on and off of the field, and when the team needed him to come off the bench, he threw a late touchdown to put his team ahead. If he can use a short week to torch a winless Lions team, other teams will look at him and say that if they draft a quarterback, they want Dalton to be the bridge quarterback.

Why this impacts the Chicago Bears

Some fans got to this point and are saying, who cares? Andy Dalton will be gone after this year. It does benefit Chicago, though. Based on the amount of money that Dalton gets in free agency, and the playing time he gets next season the Bears could get a compensatory pick.

Keep in mind, quarterback salaries are high, even for backups, and if Dalton is with a rookie, he could very well get on the field again next year. Adding Dalton getting a hefty salary to the compensation formula is huge.

The formula cancels out how much a team spends against how much they lost in free agency. Dalton will either help cancel out some of the splashes Chicago made, or net them a free draft pick.

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Considering Matt Nagy is on the hot seat, and Ryan Pace may join him, there is a chance that the Dalton signing nets the new GM a free pick. All because he played well against the Detroit Lions. It is a small win, but if Dalton does well, Chicago Bears fans should be excited.