Old faces, new places

March 16, 2021

Just when we thought Andy Dalton is entering the part of his career where he could settle into an upper-tier backup role, he goes and partially redeems himself.

Called on early last season to start for the Cowboys when Dak Prescott was injured, the three-time Pro Bowler from TCU put up some decent numbers.

While starting nine games behind unfamiliar, if not slightly better pass protection than he had with the Bengals, he completed 216 passes for 2,169 yards and 14 touchdowns. It’s worth mentioning that it equated to his career-best completion percentage of 64.9.

While Bears fans likely hold on to hopes that Dalton will simply play a mentor role for an incoming rookie, he can at least be a viable starter if that’s not the case.

With Dalton on just a one-year $10 million deal with up to $3 million in incentives, things have been worse in Chicago.

A few miles south in the same timezone, Dalton’s 2011 draft classmate Tyrod Taylor also signed a one-year deal.

His deal with the Houston Texans is for up to $12.5 million. The last two times Taylor was named as a starter in the NFL, his seasons were cut short by injuries. That led to the debut of rookies Baker Mayfield and Justin Herbert.

Houston’s situation is quite different, as would-be starter Deshaun Watson isn’t a rookie but a likely holdout.

While 2017 in Buffalo was the last time Taylor played more than 10 games as a starter, he does bring a somewhat familiar style to Houston. Though he doesn’t have Watson’s passing ability, his scrambling potential should allow the Texans to move forward with much of their existing game plan.

If there is a sleeper to emerge from this move, it’s likely to come from whoever starts at tight end. The position has historically been a favorite check-down target of Taylor’s.