The Chicago Bears have some serious soul-searching to do.
Mitchell Trubisky was supposed to be tearing up defenses by now. During training camp, Matt Nagy bragged about the offense now being in the “202” phases, rather than “101,” where it was at this time a year ago.
But instead, we haven’t just seen stagnancy. It seems that we have even seen a little bit of regression. So, as a Chicago sports fan myself, I say to the Bears something I have grown too used to asking my teams: “You said you were good. So, why are you not good?” Now, this may be a bit of an overreaction. As the team heads into its Week 6 bye, I still like them to make the playoffs. But before the season started, I was firmly confident in them as Super Bowl contenders, but as I see the entire offense, not just the quarterback, unraveling, I no longer have that type of confidence (for now).
Career backup Chase Daniel stepped in for Trubisky as he went out with a left shoulder injury in Week 4, and played some good football as he led the Bears to a 16-6 win over Minnesota. Seven days and one trip across the Atlantic Ocean later, Daniel throws two backbreaking interceptions, including one when down three with 1:22 remaining, against the Oakland Raiders. Chicago could have easily gone into their bye sitting at 4-1 and half a game behind Green Bay in the NFC North. Instead, they are 3-2, in third place, and face the NFL’s toughest remaining schedule as Mitchell Trubisky is expected to return in time to face the New Orleans Saints in Chicago in Week 7.
There were reports earlier this year that Chicago planned to extend Trubisky when he becomes eligible. You now have to wonder if Bears brass still has that kind of confidence. Earlier this week, it was reported by Dan Sileo that the Bears were one of several teams calling the New York Giants about the availability of Eli Manning, who has a no-trade clause in his contract. I think it is unlikely that the Bears have serious interest in the 38-year-old Manning, but, if this report is true, it does shed light on the Bears’ confidence in their current QB situation.
There are two other quarterbacks I think general manager Ryan Pace will look into.
The first is Josh Rosen. Obviously, Rosen is ultra-talented. The Dolphins will likely get the number one draft choice, and will likely use it on Alabama QB Tua Tagavailo, meaning a team will probably be able to get Rosen for a second-round pick, at most. Rosen has gotten the short end of the stick in his two year NFL career. He was drafted to a terrible team, with a horrible offensive line, limited offensive playmakers, a mediocre defense, and a head coach who was so bad, he was fired after just one 3-13 season at the helm of the program. And just when it seemed it couldn’t get worse for Rosen, he was traded to the Miami Dolphins, whose 2019 edition might go down as the worst squad in NFL history. Miami media has criticized Rosen for slowly processing defenses and holding on to the ball for too long (which can both be traced back to his awful supporting cast) but has been credited with being able to throw an accurate deep ball, something Mitchell Trubisky has not shown consistently. If Pace does decide to throw a mid-round pick at Miami for Rosen, he may not come in and be the immediate starter, but he might at least be enough to light a fire under Trubsiky and make him improve.
The second quarterback, and this may surprise some, is Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. Pace has shown in the past that he likes Georgia players, e.g.: OLB Leonard Floyd, 2016 first round, ILB Roquan Smith, 2018 first round, WR Javon Wims, 2018 seventh round, and WR Riley Ridley, 2019 fourth round. Fromm is a very good quarterback, and if he is available by the time the third, fourth, fifth round in 2020 rolls around, don’t be surprised if Pace makes that move. The Bears will likely let Daniel walk this upcoming free agency unless he takes a pay cut. So, even if Trubisky pans out and the Bears never need him to start, he could still be a very cheap and quality backup.
Keep in mind, these are not the only quarterbacks I think the Bears may target. I don’t even necessarily think the Bears will consider either of these two guys. Furthermore, there is a possibility the Bears won’t even need to look at any other QBs in the case that Mitchell Trubisky does turn it around. These are just two guys that I found interesting.
I have not yet hit the panic button on Mitchell Trubisky, but my confidence in him is much lower than it was about seven weeks ago. I expect improvement in Trubisky throughout this season, and I also expect improvement from the Bears’ dismal run-game. But in the scenario that Trubisky doesn’t step it up, Ryan Pace has to be able to make a move that puts this elite roster in position to win a Super Bowl while this core is still together. Reigning NFL Coach of the Year Matt Nagy will not let this season be a disappointment regardless of how that turns out, though.