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NFL: Bears decline 2021 option on Mitchell Trubisky; Cowboys add Andy Dalton

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky warms up before Chicago's game against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 29, 2019.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky struggled in 2019, so Chicago acquired Nick Foles and is planning to hold an open competition for the starting job.
( Hannah Foslien / Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears declined their fifth-year option for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky for the 2021 season, a person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press on Saturday.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the move had not been announced. The NFL Network first reported the decision.

The move is hardly a surprise considering the way Trubisky struggled in his third season since the Bears drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick. His yards (3,138), completion rate (63.2%), touchdown passes (17) and rating (83) all dropped from the previous year.

The Bears acquired 2018 Super Bowl most valuable player Nick Foles from Jacksonville in March and plan to hold an open competition for the starting job.

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Chargers tight end Hunter Henry will miss Philip Rivers. But he’s eager to see what the team can do with a different offense.

General manager Ryan Pace largely staked his reputation to Trubisky when he traded up a spot with San Francisco to draft him ahead of Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Houston’s Deshaun Watson. While Mahomes and Watson have emerged as two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, Trubisky has mixed promising flashes with too many poor decisions and throws. And he is facing a murky future in Chicago.

The Bears went 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years last season after winning the NFC North at 12-4 in 2018. Though their defense continued to excel, their offense ranked among the worst in the NFL.

Chicago lacked playmakers to complement wide receiver Allen Robinson and got little production from its tight ends. It addressed that issue by signing five-time Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham in March and drafting Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet in the second round last month.

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Andy Dalton, Cowboys reach a deal

Andy Dalton is coming home to Texas as Dak Prescott’s backup with the Dallas Cowboys.

Dalton and the Cowboys agreed to a one-year deal that guarantees the former Cincinnati starter $3 million and could be worth up to $7 million, two people with direct knowledge of the deal told the Associated Press on Saturday night.

The people spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been announced. The agreement was first reported by ESPN.

The Cowboys reached a deal with Dalton two days after he was released by the Bengals. That moved cleared the way for No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow, who led Louisiana State to the national championship.

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Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton runs against the Browns on Dec. 29, 2019.
Adding former Bengal Andy Dalton marks the Cowboys’ biggest investment in a veteran backup quarterback since Dak Prescott became the starter.
(Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

Dalton, who was born and raised in the Houston area, led Texas Christian to an undefeated season that included a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin during the 2010 season before the Bengals drafted him in the second round.

The Cowboys have relied on the untested Cooper Rush as Prescott’s backup the past two seasons. Dalton marks their biggest investment in a veteran backup since Prescott replaced the injured Tony Romo in 2016 and ended up taking his job for good.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke exclusively to Los Angeles Times writer Sam Farmer on Sunday, a day after the league conducted its first virtual draft.
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Dalton started 133 games for the Bengals and led the franchise’s best stretch of playoff appearances — five in a row from 2011 to 2015 — but couldn’t get that elusive win.

Cincinnati lost in the first round each time, setting an NFL record. Dalton had a broken thumb and was sidelined for the last of those playoff appearances, which ended in a last-minute meltdown and an 18-16 loss to Pittsburgh during the 2015 season.

Coach Zac Taylor signaled the end of Dalton’s career in Cincinnati by benching him for three games midway through last year’s 2-14 season, a move that shocked Dalton and his longtime teammates. Dalton was upset the Bengals didn’t try to trade him before the deadline.

The Cowboys have placed the franchise tag on Prescott, who hasn’t signed the one-year tender worth about $31 million. The sides have until July 15 to get a long-term contract done.

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Chiefs acquire Taco Charlton

The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to a contract with defensive end Taco Charlton, adding a former first-round pick who flamed out in Dallas and Miami but whose athleticism is a perfect match for coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.

The 25-year-old Charlton was the 28th overall selection in the 2017 draft. He made seven starts for the Cowboys before sustaining a shoulder injury, and he was waived just two weeks into last season. The Dolphins signed Charlton and he made five starts and appeared in 10 games, but he was a healthy scratch the last four games of the regular season.

The Dolphins waived him Thursday, and the Chiefs were able to sign him when he cleared waivers Friday.

Charlton will compete for playing time within a rotation that includes starting defensive ends Frank Clark and Alex Okafor, backups Tanoh Kpassagnon and Breeland Speaks, and fifth-round draft pick Mike Danna.


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