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Report: Bears to Take Justin Fields 'Slowly'; Think Andy Dalton Can Win 10 Games

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIIMay 2, 2021

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2021, file photo, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. The Chicago Bears agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract with former Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton, agent Jeffrey Nalley said Tuesday, March 16, 2021. The three-time Pro Bowler could earn an additional $3 million in bonuses. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The Chicago Bears proclaimed Andy Dalton their "QB1" in a tweet in March when the veteran signed a one-year deal with the squad.

Despite their decision to trade up Thursday and draft Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields at No. 11 overall, that is reportedly still the plan in Chicago.

In an appearance on SportsCenter on Sunday, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the Bears "want to take this slowly" and "feel that just stable, veteran quarterback play can get them over the hump and back into the playoffs" after two consecutive 8-8 campaigns. 

Fowler said the Bears organization believes Dalton can win 10 games this season. 

Dalton was signed in the offseason to fill the void left by Mitchell Trubisky, who joined the Buffalo Bills as a free agent to back up Josh Allen after his rookie contract expired. 

The 33-year-old Dalton, a second-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011, was thrust back into a starting role with the Dallas Cowboys last season when Dak Prescott went down with a season-ending injury in Week 5. 

After nine years with the Bengals, he threw for 2,170 yards and 14 touchdowns with eight interceptions in 11 contests for the Cowboys, leading the team to a 4-5 record in his nine starts.

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Fields enters the pro ranks after 22 games at Ohio State, where he threw for 5,373 yards and 63 touchdowns with nine interceptions across two seasons. 

Dalton was reportedly in the loop about the team's decision to draft the player who may take his job this season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Chicago is hoping Dalton can groom Fields for a year before he takes over as the full-time starter in 2022, similar to the mentorship in Kansas City between Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes in 2017.

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