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Now that the 2021 league year has officially begun, that means the Chicago Bears signing of quarterback Andy Dalton is official, so I wanted to give our team at Windy City Gridiron a chance to weigh in on the pickup.

Here are the pertinent numbers before the we get down to grading the move.

Andy Gregory Dalton, aka The Red Rifle, is 33-years old and he has played 10 years in the NFL with 3 Pro Bowl appearances. All but his 2020 season was spent with the Cincinnati Bengals, and last year he was signed as the QB2 for the Dallas Cowboys and he earned $3 million. In 11 games (9 starts) he completed 64.9% of his passes for 2,170 yards, 14 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, a passer rating of 87.3, with 114 yards rushing.

The Bears are reportedly inking him to a 1-year deal worth $10 million, plus an additional $3 million can be earned in incentives.

Before we ask you guys to give us your grade for the signing, here are the grades we handed out.

INCOMPLETE

Ryan - You did not complete the class project yet and therefore will not receive credit for the class until you finish the assignment. Going into next season with Foles and Dalton as your QBs is simply not a realistic conclusion and therefore I’m giving you until May 1st to submit your final draft. ~ Jeff Berckes

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best things, and no good thing ever dies.” If the Bears end up with Andy Dalton and either Nick Foles or Alex Smith, that’s an F which stands for “fired.” But I’m not closing the door on the “all in” QB hunt and I’m not even closing the door on Russell Wilson. Ask me again on May 1st. ~ Bill Zimmerman

F

Lateral move and the same place as last year with a marginal starter, at best. I don’t care about the Bears laundering their “best efforts” through access reporters. They receive zero credit for trying. You either get the upgrade, or you failed, sorry. The Bears are now in a full-on collision course for a new coach and GM next year, which they should have already been this January. ~ Robert Zeglinski

Here’s the thing- The Bears have known for a long time that they needed to upgrade at the most important position in the sport & they gave a guy $10 million that they could have waited a few extra months and signed last year. I’m grading this move purely based on this one move and nothing else but let’s be honest, this doesn’t get the Bears much closer to being a contender. Which I thought was the entire point of “upgrading at the quarterback position. ~ Aaron Leming

D-

The only thing preventing this grade from being an F is that they at least got somebody new into the quarterback room. The bad news is, that somebody is a 33-year-old, past-his-prime, underwhelming veteran who is being grossly overpaid. The Bears could have signed Dalton for much cheaper last offseason without giving up a fourth-round pick like they did for Nick Foles, and now they find themselves paying more for Dalton than they originally would have while Foles is still on the team. That’s bad management. ~ Jacob Infante

He’s not the worst. That’s about the best redeeming quality this move by itself has. It’ll take an awful lot of terraforming to change the destination of this bridge from the Ocean of Mediocre Badness to some kind of perennial playoff promised land. This is not an inspiring start to free agency and the draft, to put it mildly. ~ Steven Schweickert

D

Listen, I’m well aware of how hard the Bears pursued Russell Wilson. Still, there’s zero excuse to desperately sign Andy Dalton to a $10+ million deal. That’s just Ryan Pace playing an idiot’s game. ~ Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter

At this point in his career Dalton is a mediocre QB, so if the big trade wasn’t going to happen there was no point in paying him so much. He’ll be better than what they had, but he doesn’t get them any closer to sustained success. ~ Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.

D+

Desperation, thy name is Ryan Pace. This might be an upgrade in the most miniscule way possible. This is getting the base model 1.4 liter engine and putting it in “sport” mode and all it does is rev the engine harder but goes no faster. Who’s walking around and saying, “you know what, I want to emulate those early 2010s Cincinnati Bengals teams with good defenses and no playoff wins?” ~ Sam Householder

Even at his best, Dalton was on the lower end of average talent wise... you could get some solid production out of him in the right circumstances, but eventually, that mediocre talent was going to bite you. He’ll be a step up from the likes of Nick Foles and Mike Glennon (who at their peaks were high end backups), but absolutely no one should be excited about his move. ~ Will Robinson II

The Bears made their push for Russell Wilson and came up empty, and $10M is the market rate for bridge starters (Fitz, Taylor). That said, this signing is both an indictment on the Foles move and costs the Bears RRH’s comp pick, so it comes at a cost. ~ Robert Schmitz

C-

Better than some other terrible moves at QB (Glennon, Foles) but not great. Dalton could be decent with an upgraded O-line and WR corps (both possible outcomes of this offseason), but he’s not going to turn the tide for you. This only looks like a “reasonable” move because the franchise was starting from a place of ultimate weakness as far as the QB room is concerned. ~ E.J. Snyder

C

There are plenty of worse options out there than a former Pro Bowl quarterback (2x alternate, 1x outright) who threw for over 4,000 yards just 5 years ago, especially considering the Bears team record is a sad 3,838 yards in a single season. That said, he signed for $3 million with the Cowboys last offseason and threw 2,169-14TD-8INT in 9 games, hardly worth such a massive raise in my book. ~ Jack Salo

C+

I get its equivocal, but I do believe Dalton is an upgrade over Foles. Specifically, he has a history of playing at an average+ level throughout an entire regular season. This puts the Bears in a better position to move up in the draft and maybe get a Trey Lance, who will take more time to develop. My main issue is the price. ~ Patti Curl

E/Flag

At every school I’ve ever taught at, there has been an emergency warning system where we could raise flags and notify advisors if we felt students were struggling with basic material or were underprepared for the classes they were enrolled in. At one school I taught at, I was even allowed to assign an “E” grade. This was basically an “F” that acknowledged that the students were trying as hard as they could, they just never should have taken the class in the first place. Pace is trying, but he’s not able to run an NFL team. Dalton is the classic making a move just to make a move. It’s burning 5% of the cap for a guy who is just going to be bad in a different way, but who looks like you are at least trying. This is the student who copy/pasted a page from Wikipedia and turned it in as his paper—not because he wanted to cheat, but because he just had no clue how else to get it done. ~ Josh Sunderbruch

Here’s what I give this trade, an F for a “fabulous Josh writeup. ~ Jack M Silverstein

Now it’s your turn, give us your grade for this move in the comment section.