A look around the Bears-related rumor mill that won’t stop spinning any time soon …
- The Bears are in a good news-bad news situation as the team has a lot of needs (that’s the bad news), but has a variety of ways to fill those needs (I told you there was good news). Pro Football Rumors highlights the team’s Top 3 needs — which, unfortunately doesn’t cover all (or even most) of what should be on the team’s offseason shopping list. Addressing quarterback is obviously a top priority (and PFR provides several options should the Bears officially choose to part ways with Jay Cutler) but there are at least two other areas of concern: the disastrous secondary, and figuring out what to do with Alshon Jeffery.
- Let’s return our focus to quarterback for a moment. While the Bears have been mentioned frequently as a suitor for Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo, there have been a number of rumors connecting him to the Browns. For his part, he says he’s not thinking about that until an opportunity presents itself, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. The problem for any team (but specifically, the Bears) in the Garoppolo hunt is finding a fit in trade. In December, Adam Schefter went on WEEI radio and said the starting point for a Garoppolo trade was a first and fourth-round pick. It seems unlikely that the Bears would seriously consider parting with the No. 3 overall pick in a deal for one year of Garoppolo — and the opportunity to sign him to an extension without much on the way of experience to fall back on. It’s also unlikely the Patriots couldn’t do better than a Bears deal centered around their second round pick (plus) if they decided to trade him. For example, the Browns, who hold the top overall pick in the draft, also pick 12th in the first round – might that not be an enticing offer for the Patriots?
- Bengals backup A.J. McCarron has been suggested by many as a trade target for QB-thirsty teams who shy away from paying the Patriots’ premium. With just one year left on his contract, a new team could get him in the door and see what he can do, or alternatively could trade for him and immediately sign him to an extension. Though, there are significant risks in either approach. But the thing is McCarron will not be an unrestricted free agent after the 2017 season as we’d believed. Joel Corry notes he’ll actually be a restricted free agent, which means McCarron’s team could keep him for the 2018 season for a relative bargain. By now, you’re already realizing the problem: A big part of McCarron’s draw as a speculated trade candidate was because he was going to be a free agent after 2017. With an extra year of team control left, there’s a whole lot less incentive for the Bengals to shop him than we thought.
- Trading for another team’s backup is risky, but does being a branch on the Tom Brady backup tree really give Garoppolo a leg up? History suggests that particular situation deserves close monitoring.
- And for what it’s worth, Eric Edholm from Yahoo!’s Shutdown Corner reports the Bears have been installed as a favorite to land Garoppolo, according to Sportsline wagering services.
- Meanwhile, another top backup is actually set to become a free agent – Tampa Bay’s Mike Glennon is one of the better free agent QBs available, but the Jets have already been connected frequently. Head coach Todd Bowles is reportedly a fan, and if they can clear the cap room to make it happen, Glennon is probably the route they go.
- ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter predict the biggest offseason headlines and there are plenty of Bears ties (direct and indirect) to read through. Schefter takes a look at the players (Colin Kaepernick, Kirk Cousins, Tyrod Taylor, Jay Cutler, etc.) and teams (Bears, 49ers, Jets, Texans, Bills, Broncos, and Browns) riding this offseason’s quarterback carousel. In other free agency news, there are 24 notable contributors who played in Super Bowl LI who are scheduled to be free agents this march. Just in case you were looking to add championship experience to a team that finished with double-digit losses.
- Also in the notebook is a favorable comparison of Clemson’s Deshaun Watson to Dak Prescott, which is worth re-visiting considering the Bears’ position in the draft and need at the position. Still, it is apparent that there is no clear consensus on Watson’s future. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney loved him (for obvious reasons) but NFL teams aren’t quite sold — yet.
- Speaking of Watson, he says he is not trying to avoid the Browns (despite questions to the contrary) and his passing on the Senior Bowl (where he would have been coached by the Browns’ staff) was simply about starting draft preparations.
- It is, of course, highly unlikely that he would fall as far as 25 in the draft, but that is where the Houston Texans will pick this April. And despite handing out a big contract to Brock Osweiler last offseason, team owner Bob McNair told the Houston Chronicle that he expects a competition between Osweiler, Tom Savage, and a “young one,” probably from the draft. At 25, the Texans are likely hoping someone like Watson, Mitch Trubisky or DeShone Kizer falls out of favor in the eyes of draft evaluators, which seems unlikely given the dearth of quarterback talent in the draft and the numerous teams who need to fill holes who draft in front of them. In the end, the Brock Osweiler signing continues to remind antsy Bears fans that reaching to turn a back-up type with some successful starting experience into your franchise quarterback can have disastrous results.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.