Ex-Bears QB Andy Dalton signs with Saints to back up Jameis Winston
The Bears signed Dalton last year thinking he was the answer to their quarterback trouble, but that didn’t work out.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former Bears quarterback Andy Dalton is signing a one-year, $3 million with the Saints, a source said, to be Jameis Winston’s backup.
The Bears, who signed Dalton to a $10 million contract last year, might end up being the last team to offer him a starting job as he winds down his career. The Saints are his third team in three seasons since the Bengals released him.
Former Bears general manager Ryan Pace and former coach Matt Nagy thought signing Dalton, now 34, was the key to unlocking the struggling offense. Instead, he was a symbol of the team’s overall dysfunction and poor planning.
Shortly after signing Dalton, the Bears traded up to draft Justin Fields at No. 11 overall, then Nagy declared there would be no competition. Dalton was his starter, and he planned to keep Fields on the bench for the entire season.
That plan fell apart quickly. Fields took over in Week 2, but was in an awkward position after having spent the entire offseason on second string and was then being asked to play in an offense that wasn’t designed to fit his strengths.
“Last year was kinda weird,” Fields said in January. “It was kind of a weird leadership role; me and Andy would kind of switch off.
“But now that I am starting off the season as a starting quarterback, I think I’ll be more comfortable playing that leader role. There’s no more, ‘Oh, he’s a rookie, this and that.’ It’s time now.”
Dalton ended up playing eight games and finished with a 76.9 passer rating, which was worse than any of Mitch Trubisky’s four seasons and worse than Nick Foles’ disappointing 2020 performance. He had eight touchdown passes and nine interceptions.
Incidentally, the Bears replaced Dalton with former Saints backup Trevor Siemian. He was in New Orleans the last two seasons and played six games in 2021.
General manager Ryan Poles said Siemian will back up Fields and the team will try to trade third-stringer Nick Foles.