Chatter surrounding the Bears’ open quarterback position tends to gravitate towards potential draft picks, external free agents, and trade targets, but there are still other ways for the Bears to find a QB.
For example, what about re-signing Brian Hoyer?
Over at Comcast Sports Net Chicago, John Mullin asks what happens if the Bears can’t re-sign Hoyer, because, apparently, that’s becoming an increasingly plausible possibility (due to interest from other teams).
For two examples, Mullin lists the Jets (who could use Hoyer as a starter while Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty develop behind him) and the Cowboys (where he could serve as a backup to Dak Prescott with Tony Romo likely moving on) as organizations that would discuss the possibility of signing Hoyer.
But the Bears have reasons to bring back Hoyer, too.
He’s an experienced quarterback who fit both in the locker room and on the field, where he just so happened to throw 200 passes without an interception in 2016. While his conservative play doesn’t necessarily turn into points (Bears averaged 18.3 points in Hoyer’s four full starts), his commitment to the safe play keeps the Bears out of the turnover danger zone, and thus, in the game.
So, while eyes seem to be elsewhere, it’s worth tracking what happens with Hoyer.
- Even though Hoyer clearly isn’t the ideal solution to the Bears’ long-term quarterback woes, it isn’t clear if that particular player will even become available this offseason. In fact, Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog does some deep diving into the statistical profile of an ideal Bears’ quarterback and the results, if you’re seeking the long-term solution, are less than encouraging.
- Hughes identifies six pieces of criteria to look for in a college quarterback, but only one member of the 2017 draft class checks more than one box. As a point of comparison, there were six quarterbacks drafted between 2011 and 2015 who checked at least five boxes. And of those six, only Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t already an NFL starter. The others: Cam Newton, Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Andy Dalton, and Andrew Luck.
- If finding a quarterback is the top offseason priority for the Bears, finding whoever will be catching his passes should be high on the list, too. Over at CSN Chicago, Chris Boden lists 10 teams who could be in the hunt for Alshon Jeffery’s services. The group is a mix of contenders, teams on the rebuild, squads on the cusp of taking the next step, and units looking to hold on and make a push. Ten teams might seem like a lot, but that might just be scratching the surface based on how valuable a vertical threat who can high-point the ball can be to an offense.
- If you’re looking for more Alshon Jeffery rumors, we have you covered.
- In any case, it seems as though Jeffery is lined up for a major payday. Over The Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald tweets Jeffery could push past $15 million annually, because of how rarely receivers of his caliber and upside hit free agency. And Matt Eurich over at 24/7 Sports writes that Jeffery could be one of the NFL’s highest paid receivers despite a resume that includes only two 1,000-yard seasons and a bunch of untapped potential (not to mention a bunch of missed games due to injury and a PED suspension). Even still, Eurich writes retaining Jeffery should be a top priority for the Bears this offseason.
- Rookie Jordan Howard was honored with a spot on Pro Football Focus’ list of top-101 players of 2016. And if all goes well next season, he’ll have a fellow rookie, center Cody Whitehair, joining him. Whitehair was on the fringe of the top 101 this year and seems to be ready for a strong second season. Matt Claassen writes that Whitehair was the top-rated center in pass protection in the second half and showed improvement in run blocking, moving from 16th to 7th to finish the year.
- And if things go really well for Chicago in 2017, a third Bears player could be in the top-101. Linebacker Jerrell Freeman, a free agent acquisition last offseason, was the Bears’ top-graded defender by PFF’s standards. However, he was on the list of big names who didn’t make the top-101 in 2016. Sam Monson explains that Freeman’s exclusion from the top-101 was based on the four-game PED suspension he was slapped with during the season, adding “there is simply no way of telling what impact that had upon his performance.”
- Fair enough. For Freeman to make the 2017 list, he’ll need to play as well as he did during his twelve 2016 games for a full slate of games next season. With that said, Freeman’s 93.8 grade is considered “elite” on PFF’s grading scale and was the highest among linebackers last year. Moving forward, losing that kind of player for a significant amount of time would be a detriment to Vic Fangio’s defense.
- And finally, the announcement of the Chargers’ move from San Diego to Los Angeles still seems surreal. Crazy to think this billboard outside the Chargers’ former home still stands:
Chargers announced relocation to Los Angeles one month ago today. And yet, this billboard remains at Qualcomm Stadium. pic.twitter.com/lTQFq0KUsI
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) February 12, 2017