The Bengals benched quarterback Andy Dalton Tuesday (on his birthday of all days), all but ending the nine-year pro's tenure in Cincinnati. With the Bears potentially entering the quarterback market this offseason, would Dalton make sense as a possible replacement for Mitch Trubisky?

In theory, Chicago has time left before Tuesday's trade deadline to wrangle Dalton from the Bengals this season, but that seems highly unlikely. In fact, Cincinnati has stated they have no intention of shipping any of their players out of town during the season, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

Plus, even if the Bengals were willing to entertain trade offers for Dalton, it may not make sense for the Bears to part with a draft pick. They're without a first-rounder for the second year in a row and with a roster that suddenly has more needs than expected, GM Ryan Pace needs to hit on a good draft class in 2020. It would be wiser for Chicago to court Dalton in free agency once the shopping season begins.

Dalton wouldn't be the worst free-agent target for Pace to consider. In fact, he could represent a similar strategy to what the Jaguars did when they signed former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles last offseason.

Foles, who's enjoyed varying degrees of success during the regular season, was expected to be a long-term starter for the Jaguars. But Jacksonville still used a Day-3 pick on former Washington State standout Gardner Minshew, who's suddenly looking more like the team's franchise quarterback moving forward.

 

A Dalton signing combined with a second-round rookie seems logical. That said, the Broncos, who signed Joe Flacco and drafted Missouri's Drew Lock in the second round, may beg to differ.

And all of this speculation is with the gigantic assumption that Mitch Trubisky doesn't flip the switch and become the Bears' centerpiece player over the team's final nine games.

There's a lot of football left to be played, but Pace can't be caught without a plan if Trubisky doesn't improve this year. Dalton will be on the shortlist of candidates as part of that strategy. 

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