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So You’ve Decided To Settle For Andy Dalton

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 20: Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

It’s early in the process yet, but Andy Dalton is already a fan favorite in Chicago, having signed with the Bears and immediately providing value to the community. And by that we mean that William Hill bookmakers, which had set the price on the Bears winning the Super Bowl at a hefty 40-1, absorbed the news of the Dalton signing and immediately reset the price at 50-1. In short, they think you’ll conclude that Dalton’s mere presence in Halas Hall makes the team 25 percent less appealing except to an obviously brilliant mind like yours.

Clearly Las Vegas understands what it means to be a Bears fan, and is trying to gin up money from gormless punters who will suddenly snap out of their sub-alcoholic torpor and think that holding a quarterback competition between two below-average QBs is the new market inefficiency. Either that, or the books are waiting for Mitchell Trubisky to leave town before lowering the odds again in a particularly cruel bait-and-switch forfeit. In that scenario, a few clever bettors can get the Bears at 50-1, wait for Trubisky to end up in Las Vegas as Jon Gruden’s latest brainstorm to give Nathan Peterman some additional motivation, and then watch the odds drop back to a less commodious 40-1 or even 30-1. One should never doubt the magic of applying game theory to addition-by-subtraction.

Toward that end, Bears general manager Ryan Pace, who is responsible for unleashing the Trubisky upon us, even went to the extraordinary (if only alleged via Dan Patrick’s show) lengths of traveling surreptitiously to Fargo, N.D., to meet with Seattle general manager John Schneider to offer three first-round picks, a third, and two Bears starters for Russell Wilson. Schneider returned Pace’s offer with a dollop of phlegm on each item for emphasis, then surely asked Pace why he couldn’t have just saved the airfare and told him and his offer to piss off over the phone. Maybe Pace convinced Schneider that they might catch Frances McDormand or Steve Buscemi at some weird convention for fans of the eponymous movie. I mean, if secrecy’s what you want, why not Medicine Hat, or Greenland, or Mali?

I mean, would you put that thinking past Pace at this point? I mean, he does seem to have gone straight from Wilson to Dalton in a straight line as though he was playing Speed Monopoly: Do not pass Deshaun Watson, do not collect Cam Newton. 

Still, Pace shot his shot, failed miserably as he should have (Pete Carroll may be old and nepotistic and territorially cranky but he’s no idiot), and ended up with Dalton, Foles, and, at least for a few more hours, Trubisky. Maybe that’s what the Billy Hill kids got caught up in, the excitement of Wilson reduced to the lockjawed yawn of Dalton, and they reflexively dropped their heads into their hands while leaning their elbows against the keyboard that records odds changes. This despair-fueled imprecision may offend you as a deep thinker about the wagering arts, but if you’re betting Bears futures based on Andy Dalton, don’t you deserve the bankruptcy with which you are clearly flirting? If you’re betting Bears futures for any reason at all, aren’t you late for your meeting already?

On the other hand, when Trubisky is allowed to walk, no doubt after Pace has snuck off to Beaver, Utah, to file the paperwork because of all the useful things he learned about secrecy in the Fargo Gambit, the odds may plummet again and the Bears may become co-favorites with Green Bay. Suddenly you’re in the same trap you were hoping to avoid, pegging the kids’ college funds on Chicago’s quarterbacking depth chart. And if that isn’t shrieking for help from the bottom of a well, nothing is.