New Bears QB Andy Dalton: 'They told me I was the starter'

Mitchell Trubisky's bound for Buffalo, Russell Wilson's staying in Seattle, Nick Foles is still in Chicago and Andy Dalton is the newest Bears starting quarterback, according to the Red Rifle himself.

Upon his first meeting with the media after signing on with the Bears, the longtime former Bengals starting QB said Thursday he's in Chicago to be QB1 and was told he'd be the starter and that was a prevailing reason for him signing with his third squad in as many seasons.

"They told me I was the starter," Dalton said, per the Associated Press. "That was one of the reasons why I wanted to come here. So every conversation I've had has been that, so that's the assurance that I've gotten."

While many Bears fans had dreams dancing through their heads of a trade bringing Wilson to the midway, that didn't come about and so Chicago and general manager Ryan Pace have brought in Dalton on a one-year, $10 million deal.

"Obviously I know there's been a lot of talk, but I'm coming in from the outside," Dalton said. "A lot of people don't know a ton about me and are gonna get to learn a lot about me while I'm here. That's all I'm worried about and so, I'm here now.

"Hopefully everybody gets a chance to see who I am as a player, as a person, see what we're gonna be able to do with this organization. I'm excited about the opportunity. Obviously there's been a lot of talk, but I'm not worried about any of that."

While myriad Bears fans were hoping for Wilson, Dalton was obviously happy a mega-deal didn't come to be.

"When it wasn't happening and this worked out for both of us to come together and for me to be a part of this team, I was ecstatic because I was hoping that was gonna be the case," he said. "I knew everything that was going on."

While Dalton is likely hopeful the hubbub about Wilson getting away is in the past, talk of what's next will remain as the 2021 NFL Draft approaches and thoughts of Dalton being a bridge to the next hopeful franchise QB will loom.

After being acquired in a trade ahead of the 2020 campaign, Foles struggled in his first season with Chicago, as the Bears' seemingly existence-long search for a franchise quarterback (with the exception of the great Sid Luckman and Jim McMahon for a bit) carried on.

Trubisky is now gone, like all the Cade McNowns before him who were brought in with a high-round pick and high expectations only to drift away and carry on a dubious tradition.

Foles, 32, has two seasons left and his contract has $10.3 million in dead money this year, so he's still around, but by Dalton's account, he's QB1 in Chicago for the here and now.

The 33-year-old Dalton has arrived after nine years and three Pro Bowls with the Bengals and last year with the Cowboys, in which he filled in admirably for Dak Prescott. Seeing action in 11 games with nine starts after Prescott was lost for the season, Dalton threw for 197.3 yards per game with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2020.

Dalton's signing hasn't ended the decades-long QB issue for the Bears, but looking ahead to the 2021 season, Chicago is hoping he can liven up an offense that was dormant throughout 2020 and do enough for the defense-driven squad to return to the playoffs.

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