Well, everyone but Matt Nagy.
Despite watching Fields outplay Dalton all offseason and now in two preseason games, Nagy hasn’t budged off his position that the veteran quarterback will start over the rookie in Week 1. Bears fans can’t comprehend what’s leading Nagy to that decision, but a foolish offseason promise might explain everything.
Matt Nagy refuses to say the magic words Bears fans are dying to hear
Bears fans have been waiting…
And waiting some more for Nagy to finally announce Fields as the Week 1 starter. Chicago traded up in the draft for a difference maker the franchise believed was the answer to their longtime quarterback problem. It’s only fair for fans to want to see him on the field as soon as possible.
But the only person who can make that decision is Nagy, and he just happens to be one of the only people in Chicago who supports Dalton as the starting QB. The head coach has continued to state that the ‘Red Rifle’ will be under center to begin the season, and nothing besides an untimely injury is going to change that.
After Dalton threw an interception and led the Bears to just six points in the first half against the Buffalo Bills this weekend, Nagy didn’t change his tone.
“We need to see him in the regular season,” the head coach told reporters after the game.
Apparently, that decision was made before Fields even joined the team.
A foolish promise is stopping the Bears from committing to Justin Fields
After the 2020 NFL season came to an end, the Bears found themselves searching for a new quarterback once again. Chicago decided to let Mitchell Trubisky walk in free agency after four years, and the team didn’t have much faith in Nick Foles to take over the starting job.
So, with the NFL draft still more than a month away, the Bears reached out to Dalton and signed the veteran to a one-year deal back in March. Interestingly, that short deal also came with a crucial promise.
Sign with us, and you’ll be the starting quarterback in Week 1. Guaranteed.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk confirmed the story in June.
“Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Bears already have promised quarterback Andy Dalton that he will start the season as the starting quarterback,” Florio wrote.
If that wasn’t enough evidence, Dalton’s quote the same week sure was.
“I knew the situation I was going into, regardless of if they drafted somebody or they didn’t,” Dalton said at the time. “I was on a one-year deal, and I was going to be the starter.”
Dalton has maintained the same confident approach about the starting job ever since, and that promise is clearly the reason why.
No promise can save Andy Dalton from the inevitable
Dalton is heavily leaning on the promise he was given five months ago, but even if the Bears keep their word and start him in Week 1, nothing he can do will stop the inevitable from happening.
When that promise was made, Nick Foles was the only other startable QB on the roster. The Bears still had the 20th overall pick in the NFL draft at the time, and they probably didn’t even have Fields on their radar. But things can change in the NFL in the blink of an eye.
Things like Chicago trading up to 11th overall and drafting a franchise quarterback for years to come. Things like watching that quarterback thoroughly outplay the promised starter for an entire offseason.
The city of Chicago is already sick with Fields fever. Bears fans won’t rest until he’s under center in a game that matters. So, when Dalton eventually starts to struggle (and he will), Nagy will have to pull the plug and bring in the rookie for a spark. And he won’t be going against any promises by making the move, either.
Fields will be the starting quarterback for the Bears at some point this season, but a foolish promise has forced Nagy to delay that decision and anger the entire fan base in the process.