The Chicago Bears Shouldn’t Ignore Recent History

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The warning to the Chicago Bears since the beginning of the season was “do not ignore history”. A history that is very recent so it should be very fresh in every general manager’s mind when evaluating their roster. To make matters worse, they have not one, but two examples of how not to go about it. They are on a path to do a combination of both.


Ignoring Recent History Could Doom Bears

From 2018 Jags to 2019 Rams

All summer long we heard the comparisons of the 2019 Bears to the 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars. A team that seemingly turned their fortunes around behind a supremely stout defense and an erratic passer in Blake Bortles in 2017. If that sounds familiar Bears fans, it should. That is precisely the formula Chicago used to jump from 5-11 to 12-4.

But Chicago proved those comparisons too accurate by falling back to Earth with an 8-8 showing in a season filled with dysfunction and injuries. The roster, coaching staff, and even top-level executives have all been subject to the vitriol of a fanbase worn by letdowns year after year.

After Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy delivered their end-of-season press conference, many were left wanting more. They wanted stronger words to describe the failure of this season. What they wanted was players called out. Even more to the point, people wanted to hear the pair’s stance on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

The organization standing behind a player they traded up to select second overall shouldn’t have been a surprise. But the overall soft tone (save for a few choice suggestions by Nagy) lent itself to the notion that any competition brought in for Trubisky will be in name only. That’s similar to the mistake the Jaguars made and spent around $21 million to rectify.

It Could Get Worse Before Getting Better

The Bears seem content to (mostly) follow in the path the Jags set out on. But they can’t (repeat: cannot) follow them fully. Or, to get even more recent, they cannot emulate what the Los Angeles Rams did with Jared Goff. In both instances, the quarterback received new money, but the Rams took things to the extreme.

Despite signs of Goff’s limitations as a passer, the Rams not only locked him up long-term, they proceeded to part their future out assets for immediate returns. Those assets became Dante Fowler and Jalen Ramsey. Both are great players but the financial commitment to them on top of Goff’s salary has the Rams headed for a fiscal crisis of sorts.

All money in the NFL can be moved with proper motivation, but what we saw from Goff this year (and Bortles before him) shows that a player can render himself unmovable with poor pay. Los Angeles, like Jacksonville, will have to eat salary if their quarterback keeps trending as he has. This is not a tenable situation and is one the Bears need to avoid at all costs.

Pace has until May to decide whether or not to pick up Trubisky’s fifth-year option but it shouldn’t be a tough choice. The quarterback has not played up to his draft stock, let alone into a price tag around $24 million. It’ll be an interesting few months in the lead up to the deadline. But with Pace and the rest of the coaching staff and front office presumably on thin ice, he can’t afford to trust Trubisky.

Up in the Air

It’s a tricky situation, sure. But Pace certainly raised tensions among the base by committing to Trubisky for 2020. His words sound as if the Bears will ignore recent history. Of course, he also said they were unsure about any upcoming staff moves before the team moved on from their offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, and others. This should be interesting.

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