The first time a Mitch Trubisky-Drew Brees comp crossed my wires was in a press conference held by Bears GM Ryan Pace after he drafted Trubisky with the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
“It’s all the traits as far as leadership, how he is with his teammates, what his work ethic is like, and all the physical traits as well, accuracy. All these top quarterbacks, it’s just their ability to quickly process defense, process coverage, find open targets, not panic under pressure, deliver accurate throws when there’s a noisy pocket and things are collapsing. Those guys all have those traits. Mitch has those traits, Drew has those traits.”
It was one of Pace’s most notable quotes to compare Trubisky to an all-time great quarterback, and as of now, is one that isn’t aging well. Neither is the idea that Trubisky and Matt Nagy could follow in the footsteps of Brees and Sean Payton, an idea offered up by NFL insider Jay Glazer regarding the future and upside of Chicago’s quarterback-head coach combo.
Frankly, even the concept of Trubisky taking some early lumps in an offensive non-fit, then blooming (as Brees once did in San Diego before leaving for New Orleans) feels like a long shot. All things considered, any Brees-related comparisons should be put to rest … After I offer up one more.
Chris Roling of Bleacher Report believes Teddy Bridgewater and the Bears will be an ideal fit when free agency opens up.
And frankly, if Pace is looking for his next Brees, then his search should probably start with Bridgewater. Because if Pace is willing to make pre-draft comparisons between Trubisky and Brees, then he should probably be pointed to the similarities between the early career paths of Brees and Bridgewater.
Some of which are too much to not notice:
- Both quarterbacks were taken near the top of the draft, with Bridgewater being the 32nd overall pick in 2014 and Brees dropping to the top of Round 2.
- Both had some semblance of early career success, with Brees making a Pro Bowl with the Chargers in 2004 at age 25 as a third-year starter, while Bridgewater made it as a second-year starter at age 23.
- Both had injuries that altered their career trajectory, as Brees suffered a shoulder injury that ultimately pushed the Chargers to go in a different direction and Bridgewater suffered a gruesome leg injury that led the Vikings to search elsewhere for their long-term solution at quarterback.
That brings us to the present day, where Bridgewater, 27, is at the same place at his age that Brees was entering that year, in that both were talented quarterbacks who were established as good, but nowhere near hitting their potential heading into their respective free agent seasons. For obvious what-are-the-odds-related reasons, I would caution against painting Bridgewater as the next Brees. And yet, I feel as if I have seen this story play out before and am intrigued to see how the Bears could factor into this version of the tale.
Bridgewater will probably want to take his talents to a team in (or on the cusp of) contention in an attempt to get the most out of the next chapter in his career.
And after spending time behind Brees in New Orleans the last two seasons and posting respectable numbers (69.7 completion percentage, 103.7 passer rating, 9-2 TD-INT ratio) in seven starts, who can blame him? As for the Bears fit, it’s there if you’re willing to open your eyes. Because despite their numerous needs, few teams can offer what the Bears have with Allen Robinson II and Anthony Miller as starting wideouts, a defense that features three players (Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, Kyle Fuller) who have made the last two Pro Bowls, and recent success (seriously, friends … 2018 wasn’t all that long ago).
There are plenty of hurdles to clear before the Bears even consider Bridgewater as a free agent. And even if they were able to get to the point where they could sign him, the contract figures to be costly. So, even if Chicago was able to cross that bridge, the fallout that would come with the sacrifices that would have to be made elsewhere at other positions would make for interesting football fodder to follow.