The view from 30,000 feet reveals the Chicago Bears might be setting themselves up for failure in the pursuit of a franchise quarterback. Is it wise to bet the farm for one of the available passers? With all of the rumors swirling around them, can they really afford to miss out? This is the delicate dance Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy have to do for 2021 to be successful.
Bears in Danger of Coming Up Short Chasing a Quarterback
‘All In’ Always Risky
We reacted to reports the Bears would be “all in” on fixing their issues under center and how that was always dangerous for them. It’s hard to get overly excited by this group. They’ve often made things harder for themselves than they need to be. Giving up draft picks for Nick Foles and inking Robert Quinn are just the latest unfortunate doings of a regime fighting for their jobs in a “what have you done for me lately” league.
As time has gone on, however, teams that would be competing for quarterbacks have either gotten their guy (Matt Stafford, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff), have a guy (Dak Prescott, Derek Carr), or are in a salary cap situation worse than the Bears.
That led to rampant speculation fueled by the Bears obvious need and Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson wanting out of their current situations. Wilson (or at least his camp) went so far as to release a list of acceptable trade destinations. But, if you subscribe to the Peter King line of thinking, Chicago will miss out on a marquee quarterback.
If they do strike out it will be disastrous. “Striking out” is also relative because we will probably never know to what extent they pursued most of their options. And what’s worse is Pace and Nagy will only have themselves to blame.
Foot in Mouth
By now we’ve all concluded that Mitchell Trubisky won’t return to Chicago, though they did leave the door ever so ajar. But Foles cannot be what they end up with when all is said and done. Allowing your own hand-picked drafted passer walk while retaining the (much older) guy who took his job and failed is not going to win over many.
That’s not news though. Neither Trubisky nor Foles would be a good enough answer for what’s ailed this franchise and its fans for the better part of 30 years. The Bears put extra emphasis on themselves (as if that was even possible) when Nagy spoke of anticipating a “domino effect” among the league’s quarterbacks.
What we’ve seen has hardly been that with the Stafford-Goff and Wentz trades being the only significant moves made for outside talent. Dallas locked up Dak Prescott leaving one fewer quarterback option and suitor on the market.
That Wilson and Watson both want out is a double-edged sword for these Bears; just as with their being “all in”. It gives them real options to improve at the one position they’ve never figured out. But it also creates an actual “losing” scenario in the off-season. For as much as either star wants it, neither team has to grant their wish.
If the Bears miss out on Watson or Wilson they won’t be able to save face. When the season ended, if you would have told the majority of fans the Bears are taking one of the top rookie passers in the draft they would have eaten the idea up. But because we’ve now spent all this time speculating, would Mac Jones do it for many of the faithful?
That’s a significant question because it may be their last hope. But they’ve lost all benefit of the doubt. Good luck selling that, having missed out on any of the possible fixes at quarterback, the fanbase now must have even more patience with this group.
Barring Justin Fields falling into their lap the Bears will be in “win-now” mode with a project (or worse) at quarterback. This is where we see the corner they’ve painted themselves into. Had they just went about this off-season like a normal franchise, they could have gone the rookie route and gotten a little extra leash.
Now though, anything less than Watson or Wilson will be viewed as an abject failure; fairly or unfairly. It’s hard to feel sorry for the Bears though. Every step of this has been as painful as possible. So it is on-brand for this regime’s potential swan song to be as ugly as it might get.
WR1 In Tow
Bringing back Allen Robinson should have been a no-brainer. It wasn’t for Pace and Co. What we are seeing, though, is many of the remaining potential quarterback spots are losing or in search of weapons and other pieces of a supporting cast. Chicago, for all of its warts, is bringing back the core of a group that showed improvement late in the year (again, depending on who you ask).
Hopefully, the franchise tag is just a placeholder for the Bears and Robinson to finally get something long-term done. But having him back in the fold keeps the other receivers from playing a spot too high.
Take Darnell Mooney. He impressed many as a rookie showing good hands, solid route running, and of course his great speed. Of course, Nagy weighed in and possibly put too great of expectations on his second-year wideout; saying he could be a Tyreek Hill or Desean Jackson type. It’s lofty praise. But Nagy was around both. We’ll take his word on this one.
Add in second-year man Cole Kmet at tight end and David Montgomery at running back and the Bears weaponry is downright competitive. He has flaws to his game, sure. But without Robinson, there would be a clear hole at the top of the pecking order. They still need a quarterback to get them the ball.
Dangers in Bears Quarterback Hunt
You will find no short of opinions on whether or not, to what degree, and anything else connected to the Bears acquiring one of these quarterbacks. The headlines if they miss out will be full of “told ya so”, “where did it all go wrong”, and the like. They’re going to need to collaborate an awful lot between now and the start of next season if they do indeed miss.
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