Bears head coach Matt Nagy told reporters Sunday that long-time Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton will be Chicago's No. 1 quarterback when organized team activities start next week, despite an impressive rookie minicamp from first-round draft pick and former Ohio State Buckeyes standout Justin Fields.
"Andy is the starter," Nagy said. "Andy's going to get the one reps."
The Bears are scheduled to face the Bengals in Chicago during Week 2 of the 2021 season. The Enquirer's Tyler Dragon predicted a Cincinnati win at Soldier Field.
Dalton, who entered this offseason as a free agent after playing last season with the Dallas Cowboys, told reporters in March that one of the reasons he agreed to terms with Chicago on a one-year deal reportedly worth for $10 million - with the chance to earn another $3 million in incentives - was that the Bears told him he will start for them.
Dalton and the Cowboys routed the Bengals, 30-7, in December.
The Bears selected Fields 11th overall in last month's draft, casting doubt about how long Dalton might be Chicago's starter.
In March, the Bears tweeted a photo of Dalton - with accompanying text that simply said "QB1."
Dalton's deal reunited him with Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the Bengals' offensive coordinator during the 2017 and 2018 seasons who also served as former head coach Marvin Lewis' quarterbacks coach during the 2016 season.
Dalton, who signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys last May, started nine of the 11 games in which he played last season, completing 216 of 333 attempts (64.9%) for 2,170 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
The Bengals' starting QB from 2011 to 2019 trails only Ken Anderson among Cincinnati's all-time leaders in passing yardage.
NFL.com analyst David Carr wrote that Dalton was among the top 10 quarterbacks worth pursuing via free agency, 2021 NFL Draft or trade. Dalton, who will turn 34 in October, ranked 10th on Carr's list.
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