Bears GM Ryan Pace says QB Andy Dalton is starter despite drafting Justin FieldsJason Lieseron April 30, 2021 at 4:51 am

Dalton signed a one-year deal last month. | Getty

The Bears envision Fields as their long-term answer but still plan on Dalton opening the season as their starter.

They’ve said this before.

Hours after trading up to draft Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields at No. 11, general manager Ryan Pace said free agent signee Andy Dalton remains the Bears’ starter — just like they said of Mike Glennon when they drafted Mitch Trubisky in 2017.

To be fair, Glennon did open that season as the starter, but played his way out of the job after four games.

“Matt [Nagy] has spoken to Andy Dalton tonight; that communication and clarity for us is really important,” Pace said. “Andy is our starter, and we’re gonna have a really good plan in place to develop Justin and do what’s best for our organization and win games.”

The Bears signed Dalton for one year, $10 million and assured him he’d be their starter. It was a crucial part of their recruiting pitch because Dalton had a strong offer from the 49ers.

Pace cracked the door open slightly for Fields to beat out Dalton, but still indicated the plan is to start Dalton and have Fields learn behind him.

“We just have to let it play out,” Pace said. “One of the best feelings in the world would be, ‘Hey, we’re rolling, we’re playing really good football, we’re winning and we’re looking over there and we’re seeing this guy and we all know — everyone in the building knows — hey, we’ve got a guy.

“As these guys come into this, even all the experiences they have at the college level, growing and watching tape, reading defenses, working in the huddle… It’s just so new for these guys, but it’ll be a daily process, a daily evaluation. But we’re excited to let that play out.”

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