There was a whole lotta nothin’ happening on the trade front today. Plenty of chatter, hearsay, buzz, whispers, and rumors. But no action.
Gardner Minshew’s backup, Nick Foles, experienced no movement in Jacksonville. Cam Newton is keeping put in Carolina. Marcus Mariota continues to kick it in Nashville. And Andy Dalton remains in Cincinnati (despite a demotion … on his birthday, no less!).
So in the end, the NFL trade deadline came and went … and Mitch Trubisky remained the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback. Well, for now.
Showing a commitment to Trubisky is a choice, and one I don’t imagine the Bears made lightly. With that said, I’m not convinced that passing on acquiring external options *right now* says all that much about the team’s long-term commitment to him as QB1. In fact, I would argue it says nothing about those plans at all.
In essence, the Bears are sticking with their guy for the time being and giving him the next nine games to prove them wrong for the long term. If there’s even a 10% chance that he can take some type of magical leap forward, you want to allow him (and your own front office) the opportunity to see it. In other words it makes sense to find out who Trubisky will be *for certain* right now, before committing to yet another new signal caller via the draft, free agency, or trade.
When the time comes (likely as soon as this offseason), the Bears should bring in an experienced veteran who can compete with Trubisky for the starting job – maybe someone with a higher immediate floor and a better understanding of how to get things done in the offense. And even if the Bears manage to find that guy, they shouldn’t stop there. They should also draft a longer-term option and see how the three compete during offseason drills and training camp.
But if you can’t stand the hypotheticals, don’t worry. I’m won’t leave you hanging.
Perhaps, this offseason, the Bears can sign free-agent-to-be Marcus Mariota, a quarterback with real prospect pedigree as a Heisman Trophy winner, who has familiarity with the scheme because of his past with Mark Helfrich from their time at Oregon. He could reasonably be groomed as a low-cost, high-floor quarterbacking option (not unlike Alex Smith, a QB with a unique prospect past of his own, who cycled through offensive coordinators and struggled mightily in San Francisco before ultimately finding a place to thrive in Kansas City), as the Bears attempt to compete in the near-term, while planning for the long-run.
Meanwhile, the Bears should draft a second-round quarterback like Jalen Hurts (as we discussed), a top quarterback of his high school class, who was good (and trustworthy) enough to start as a true freshman for Nick Saban’s Alabama team, and smart enough to pick up the nuances of Lincoln Riley’s offense immediately at Oklahoma.
Then, have at it all summer. Maybe you can stick with three quarterbacks. Perhaps a quarterback injury happens elsewhere in camp and Trubisky gets pushed out the door for future draft considerations. All of which is to say the Bears might be committed to Trubisky right now, but they don’t have to be in the future.
Brett Taylor and Michael Cerami contributed to this post.