I don’t blame you if this has been wiped from your memory bank, but take a moment – if you can – to think back to when the Chicago Bears signed Mike Glennon as a free agent.
In March 2017, the Bears committed to Glennon with a three-year deal that included $19 million guaranteed. GM Ryan Pace ushered in the Glennon era by saying: “Mike Glennon is our starting quarterback, and we’re fired up about that. … He’s got all the traits you want in a quarterback. I don’t know how high the ceiling is, I’m just glad we have him in the mix as our starting quarterback to compete and get better.”
At the time, Pace gave himself an out with the use of “in the mix,” allowing for the possibility of the Bears drafting a developmental quarterback in the upcoming draft. And that’s exactly what they did a month later, when they drafted Mitch Trubisky. Even then, Pace publicly backed Glennon as the starter.
Three years later, Pace’s non-committal style of commitment presented itself again. This time, in his public support of Trubisky as QB1 entering the 2020 season.
Because, yes, Pace said this:
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) December 31, 2019
But he also said this:
Ryan Pace doesn’t commit to picking up the 5th year option on Mitchell Trubisky. “We’re not at that point right now. When we are, we’ll let you know.”
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) December 31, 2019
Pace’s comments regarding not committing to pick up the fifth-year option for 2021 on Trubisky’s rookie deal said more than his opening statements regarding Trubisky’s future. In essence, Pace wasn’t confirming that Trubisky will be the starter in 2020. But rather, Pace was relaying the expectation that Trubisky would be the starter. Trubisky very well COULD be the starter when the curtain goes up on the 2020 season, but there is a whole bunch of offseason that needs to play out before he actually gets to that point.
Pace said the team was looking to create competition throughout the roster — and that includes quarterback. He admitted as much when he said this:
“We’re looking to increase competition at every position.Mitch is our starter and we believe in Mitch and we believe in the progress that he’s going to continue to make. But two of the three players in that room are free agents. The quarterback room is critical and it’s important for us. We’re always going to try to make it better, but as far as who it is and we’re going to do, we’re not there yet.”
Based on these comments, the Bears want competition at quarterback. But because they can’t guarantee it right now, as there is no one else on the roster and targets who could be had via trade, free agency, and/or the draft haven’t been made totally clear, Pace is left publicly committing to the only quarterback on his roster. Sound familiar?
Pace’s terminology on December 31 wasn’t going to matter because he as always going to say something along the lines of Trubisky will be the starter. But as I stated above, Pace also made it clear that options beyond Trubisky will be explored, pointing out that the two players behind him on the depth chart (Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray) are free agents and that the team was looking to create competition throughout the roster.
Frankly, it does the Bears no good to publicly reveal their true intentions regarding the future of the quarterbacking position at this point of the offseason. But if they don’t bring in competition as they themselves stated in Tuesday’s press conference, it will be Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy feeling the heat that is being aimed at Trubisky at this time next year.