Not all rebuilds are created equally, but each will be judged by how the quarterback chosen to lead the team performs. That’s just the nature of the beast in football.
With that in mind, Bleacher Reports Brad Gagnon ranks the NFL’s six active rebuilding jobs. It’s not a list you want your favorite team to be on, but the Bears are here among the teams trying to dig out from the bottom. To be totally honest, each of the teams listed – including the Bears – are in unenviable situations. The Jets, Rams, 49ers, Jaguars, and Browns join the Bears on Gagnon’s list of teams with rebuilding rosters who don’t want to be on the same list at this time next year.
Things could be worse for the Bears, who don’t rate as the team with the biggest climb. Gagnon points out the Bears’ aggressive pursuit of changes and upgrades at the game’s most important position as a reason why they don’t sit lower on his list. That’s right. Chicago’s new quarterbacks – yes, both free agent Mike Glennon and first-round pick Mitch Trubisky – represent a glimmer of hope that better days are ahead. Only the Jaguars and Browns are in places during their rebuilds that are better than where the Bears are, according to Gagnon. Meanwhile, the Jets, Rams, and 49ers have some catching up to do because of the lack of faith and confidence in their respective quarterback situations.
GM Ryan Pace might have taken a peculiar route toward his end goal when he gave $18.5 million in guaranteed money to a quarterback who hasn’t started since 2014, then traded multiple picks to swap spots to draft a signal caller who has started just 13 games since graduating high school. However, the organization’s belief in Glennon to lead right away and Trubisky as a long-term solution gives the team increased odds of finding the right quarterback to build around moving forward. And those are a pair of valuable assets to have if your team is building for the future.
But even if the Bears do find their true quarterback of the future, there is still a lot of work to be done on the rest of the roster. It’s not as if the team doesn’t have young talent. Running back Jordan Howard, center Cody Whitehair, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, and receiver Cameron Meredith are mentioned as potential building blocks with upside. Unfortunately, there are so many other positions that need to be upgraded before the Bears escape the dregs of the rebuild process.
Still, if you’re looking to feel optimistic about something, the Bears have some players – who if they reach their potential – can accelerate the team’s rebuild. They simply need more.
Rebuilds are a grand undertaking, and frankly, aren’t easy. But if you’re looking for examples of two teams who have recently emerged from the depths of the NFL standings to put themselves on the brink of postseason contention, you’re in luck. Gagnon mentioned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans as teams who would have been included in his piece if not for their improvements in 2016. It should be noted that the Bucs and Titans had the first and second picks in the 2015 NFL Drafts, both teams picked quarterbacks, and both missed the playoffs last year despite posting 9-7 records.
So if you want to dream that big dream, just go over how those two teams have built around young, stud quarterbacks and practice some patience. Good times could be coming sooner than we think.