Mitch Trubisky is a problem.
Trubisky’s mechanics have fallen apart. The mobility that was once a strength in his game has gone missing. His field vision is bad and his decision-making is worse. And frankly, the Bears are at a crossroads. Does the front office allow this season to run its course so they can say Trubisky was given every opportunity to succeed before moving on to finding a replacement? Or should they pull the plug, knowing there’d be no coming back from a benching? There is no cut and dried answer, but there are options.
For example, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports offers up the idea of the Bears trading for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Like, right now.
Newton has been sidelined for the Panthers’ last four games with a foot injury, but could be back as soon as Week 8 of the regular season. He would become available only if Carolina is ready and willing to move on from the 30-year-old quarterback and give the keys to Kyle Allen. The Panthers are 4-0 in Allen’s starts and the 23-year-old could conceivably be the future for that team at that position – especially as Christian McCaffrey slowly becomes face-of-the-franchise.
Trading for Newton would be a risky endeavor, but one that could be worth the roll of the dice. Newton is a league MVP, a proven winner, and a big-time player when the lights shine the brightest. He has an engaging personality, a unique sense of style, and the right amount of swagger that would make him fit right in with some of the Bears’ biggest stars. He posted the second best passer rating of his career last year (94.2), and still adds 35+ yards a game on the ground (pending that foot injury).
Newton is signed through 2020, though he’s guaranteed only $2 million in 2020 if he’s cut before June.
As Wetzel points out, it isn’t a perfect situation, but it is one worth digging into as a bite at the apple during a year in the competitive window grows elusive with each loss.
But he’s not all.
Over at The Athletic, Michael Lombardi takes some time away from his victory lap to look at another possible trade option for Chicago: Nick Foles. Lombardi believes the Bears should link up with the Jaguars and ask about Foles. Much like Carolina, Jacksonville looks prepared to roll with a young quarterback of its own in Garnder Minshew II, making the a veteran like Foles expendable (and thus, available in a trade).
Foles, 30, suffered a collarbone injury in Week 1, is on injured reserve and won’t be eligible to return until Week 11. In Lombardi’s scenario, trading for Foles would put him in a position to roll as QB1 for the final seven games of the season.
Foles already knows Matt Nagy’s system from the time they spent together in Kansas City and is a proven performer in crunch time — because you saw Super Bowl 52 *AND* the wild-card playoff game, right? In other words, it’s not like he would need a ton of time to get acclimated and make himself at home.
Not only is that fit too good to pass up, it could buy the Bears time to find their own Minshew in a future draft. Sure, the Bears would have to make some tough decisions in the offseason in order to keep Foles (who has a 2020 cap number of $22.125 million, per OverTheCap.com) in 2020 and beyond, but that’s not a bridge that we need to cross until the calendar turns to the 2020 NFL season.
Either of these deals would be earth-shattering in Chicago, as they’d represent a move away from a player the franchise has invested so much in over the last three years (time, money, and otherwise). But there will come a point when the team has to decide to bite and swallow hard on a tough decision in order to make ends meet and keep what was presumed to be a Super Bowl contender alive. And if anyone is going to do it, it’s these Bears … right?
Because I suppose a franchise that traded multiple middle-round picks for Trubisky and two first-round picks for Khalil Mack (and also conjured up several other trade-up moves for players around the gridiron) might be bold enough to make another jarring move to shake up a franchise in what was believed to be a window of contention. Sigh.
Are we really here?
UPDATE: And now pundits are putting Tom freaking Brady’s name out there in connection to the Bears … my word …