To say the Bears underwent a facelift at the quarterback position this offseason would be an understatement.
Gone was Mitchell Trubisky, who ended up signing a deal with the Bills. Long-time third-stringer Tyler Bray remains unsigned. Chicago’s first big move at quarterback was the signing of Andy Dalton to a one-year, $10 million contract near the start of free agency. The two-time Pro Bowler figured to compete with 2020 carry-over Nick Foles for the starting quarterback role, barring a big move in the 2021 NFL Draft.
However, the Bears would end up doing exactly that. Trading up to the No. 11 spot in the draft to select Ohio State’s Justin Fields, they were able to secure a promising, young passer with the hope of making him their franchise quarterback going forward.
While the ceiling surrounding him and the anticipation of his eventual NFL debut is palpable, Fields isn’t seen in betting circles as the odds-on favorite to start for the Bears come Week 1.
According to Sports Betting Dime, Dalton is getting -200 odds to start in the Bears’ Week 1 game against the Rams. Those odds translate to roughly a 66.7 percent chance of the former Bengals and Cowboys quarterback starting under center to kick the year off. Fields doesn’t have terrible odds at +170 — roughly 37 percent — but it’s clear that experts expect the veteran to play over the rookie to start the season off.
Foles is in a distant third place with +1400 odds, which translates to approximately 6.7 percent.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace remained adamant after drafting Fields that Dalton was the team’s current starter, and Fields was to be developed and brought along according to his progress. However, if the rookie plays well enough in training camp and develops even quicker than the team expects, it might actually be in Chicago’s best interest to start Fields from Day 1.
Fields’ dual-threat ability and physical gifts are superior to those of Dalton. While the latter may have more experience reading NFL defenses and has familiarity with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor from their Cincinnati days, the former Ohio State standout would likely be more difficult for opposing defenses to plan for.
Although one could make a strong argument for Fields being the better option for the Bears right away, it seems likely they will roll out Dalton to kick off the 2021 season. Time will tell what they actually plan on doing, though.