The Chicago Bears’ 2019 season was a disappointment. Looking forward, the 2020 season will be a pivotal one for players, coaches, and front office members alike. But before we get there, let’s take a position-by-position look at the team heading into an offseason that could bring change at a variety of positions.
WHO’S UNDER CONTRACT?
Mitch Trubisky enters the final year of his rookie deal with a cap number of $9,237,593, and the Bears need to capitalize on it while they can. Because once this final season of having a cap-friendly deal is over, Trubisky could make north of $25 million if the fifth-year option on his rookie deal is picked up. Without going too deep into the woods here, the Bears will soon need to make a decision on his future beyond 2020 so they can get their ducks in a row at other positions where players have performed admirably and deserve raises.
Beyond Trubisky, the Bears have no one under contract at quarterback. Hence, part of the reason as to why GM Ryan Pace was quick to commit to Trubisky as the expected starter entering the 2020 season.
Cap numbers via OverTheCap.com
EXITING FREE AGENTS
Chase Daniel’s two-year contract expires once the new league year begins. Meanwhile, Tyler Bray seems to have exhausted the last of his practice squad eligibility in 2019. Daniel and Bray were instrumental in getting Trubisky up to speed with Matt Nagy’s offense, but neither is a lock to return. In fact, it sounds like the Bears are preparing to bring in some fresh blood at the position behind Trubisky.
WHO COULD BE CUT BEFORE THE LEAGUE NEW YEAR BEGINS?
There are no cap-related benefits to cutting Mitch Trubisky, which means there is no money that can be freed up should the Bears decide to part ways with the 2017 NFL Draft’s No.2 overall selection. My apologies if you were holding out hope that wouldn’t be the case.
HOW CAN THE BEARS ADDRESS/UPGRADE THE POSITION?
Last year, I dedicated this spot to the improvement that needed to come from within Trubisky as he moved from the 2018 season and on to the 2019 campaign. Unfortunately, most of what was written in 2019 remains true in 2020. That’s a bit troubling. So where can the Bears go from here?
The free agent market could be loaded with options. Here are some names with which you might be familiar:
- Tom Brady
- Teddy Bridgewater
- Case Keenum
- Marcus Mariota
- Dak Prescott
- Philip Rivers
- Ryan Tannehill
- Jameis Winston
The list above does not include the likes of Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, Cam Newton, Josh Rosen, or a number of others who could land on the trade block this offseason. In short, there are no shortage of options — though some are more viable than others.
And then there is the draft, which features six quarterbacks who could go within the first 50 picks. Among them, a few targets the Bears could have their eyes on with pick Nos. 43 or 50. Should they decide to roll the dice on a later-round developmental target, someone like Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, Washington State’s Anthony Gordon, or Florida International’s James Morgan could be available.
A combo plan addressing the quarterback position is the logical move here. Part one of the combo platter features the Bears adding a veteran quarterback (someone who can mentor Trubisky, get the team through a season in a pinch, and do so without overtly threatening Trubisky’s pursuit of maintaining his starting gig).
The second part includes drafting a prospect who can grow, develop, and possibly take the reins on a rookie-scale deal while the team continues to build by paying skill position players elsewhere. It would be similar to what the team did in 2017, taking a swing in free agency with Mike Glennon, then again in the draft with Trubisky. Maybe having quarterback gurus such as Nagy, Bill Lazor, and John DeFilippo in tow will help GM Ryan Pace do a better job in rebuilding the quarterbacks room in 2020.