Free-agent-quarterback-to-be Marcus Mariota has been on our radar for quite some time as a potential Bears option down the line, should they choose to move away from Mitch Trubisky (or even just give him some real in-house competition to deal with).
But after reading Brad Biggs’ perspective on Mariota/his situation, his fit doesn’t look quite as strong as it once did.
While answering mailbag questions at the Chicago Tribune, Biggs was asked if the Bears would reach out and bring in Mariota, who once caught the eye of Bears GM Ryan Pace in his first year on the job. And while Biggs confirms that (1) the Bears “liked Mariota a good deal” when he was draft-eligible and (2) current offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich has ample working experience dating back to their time together at Oregon, he seems to squash the possibility of bringing in Mariota as competition for Trubisky.
Here the explanation:
“[T]here’s close to zero chance the Bears would add Mariota tot he mix this offseason, at least as long as Mitch Trubisky is on the roster. Mariota is represented by Rep 1 Sports, the same agency that represents Trubisky. There’s no way Rep 1 would want to clients competing for a starting job on the same roster because that automatically relegates one of them to backup status.”
Imagining the No. 2 picks in their respective draft classes duke it out for a starting gig sounds like fun on the surface, but Biggs’ angle is not one I would have thought of while diving into quarterbacks who could replace or challenge Trubisky next season.
And while I am sure there are starters and backups who share agents in this league, I can imagine some awkwardness if Trubisky and Mariota were on the same roster. Having to explain to Trubisky that they are bringing in someone to push him should be easy, but to do it with a guy who he shares an agency with could make for some uneasy conversations between the front office and the agency that represents the two quarterbacks.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a serious open competition or a full-on battle for the QB1 spot. But pitting Trubisky against Mariota doesn’t seem like as much as a realistic option as it once did now that we have this bit of perspective.
(Michael: I’m not the football expert that Luis or Biggs is, but frankly … I don’t see this as such a huge hump to overcome. A non-zero factor? Sure. Absolutely. If all else is equal, the Bears might lose a tiebreaker for the reasons Biggs/Luis lays out. But if Mariota has just one/best shot at a starting job – and it’s in Chicago – is he supposed to ignore it, because it’s bad for his agency’s bottom line? Nah. Agencies have some say in this stuff, of course, but so do players. And if Mariota’s best shot at a starting job is in Chicago – and let’s face it, Trubisky does not have a firm grasp on the gig – he’ll take it.)
In the end, Biggs believes the Bears will be actively searching for a seasoned quarterback to push Trubisky next season. However, Biggs wouldn’t go as far as to suggest what those options could be because it would depend on who would be available on the open market.
For what it’s worth, we have already started those conversations. Between Teddy Bridgewater (who could get the next big QB contract), Andy Dalton (who could be given a clean break from Cincinnati after this season), and Cam Newton (who would reportedly welcome a trade to Chicago), some sensible veterans have started to emerge on the periphery of our radar. And let’s not forget a handful of 2020 NFL Draft options as possible replacements or challengers for Trubisky’s spot could be in play.
The Bears’ 2019 season still has six games to play between now and the end of December. And yet, we there is a focus on the future of the quarterback position. That’s how far the Bears’ QB1 has fallen in the first three months of the season.