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Bears declare Andy Dalton their starter even after taking Justin Fields

Chicago has its new QB of the future, trading up to the No. 11 pick of the 2021 NFL Draft to take Justin Fields -- a move that Mike Florio thinks could tie the Bears to their embattled GM and head coach for a bit longer.

The Bears traded up to No. 11 to select their next franchise quarterback, Justin Fields. It comes four years after they traded up to No. 2 overall to select Mitchell Trubisky, which came six weeks after they signed free agent Mike Glennon to a three-year deal.

History does repeat itself.

The only difference is free agent Andy Dalton signed a one-year deal six weeks ago, so the veteran quarterback knew he was a bridge quarterback.

The only question now is how long Dalton stays the starter.

“Matt [Nagy] has spoken to Andy Dalton tonight; that communication and clarity for us is really important,” General Manager Ryan Pace said Thursday night, via Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times. “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.”

Glennon started four games in 2017 before a 1-3 start sent him to the bench. He never played another down for the Bears.

The lesson? As long as the Bears win, Dalton will remain the starter.

Sooner or later, though, the job will belong to Fields.

“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.”

The Bengals’ selection of Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall choice last year made Dalton expendable in Cincinnati. The Bengals cut him, and he spent last season in Dallas.