In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it was “déjà vu all over again” for Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace when it came to his “commitment” to Mitch Trubisky being the team’s starting quarterback.
From his press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine today:
Ryan Pace says the Bears still expect Mitch to be the guy in 2020. Speaking in generalities w/ competition at QB, but left door open for competition to be brought in.
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) February 25, 2020
#Bears GM Ryan Pace does make it clear that the team will look at QBs in free agency and in the draft. He also expressed faith in Trubisky.
But as we’ve said, the Bears want competition at quarterback.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) February 25, 2020
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) February 25, 2020
Pace re-affirmed his “commitment” to Trubisky as the team’s starting quarterback entering 2020. What else was Pace going to say? Trubisky is the only quarterback on the roster. Hence, he is the unquestioned starter currently on the roster. Does anyone really believe the Bears are not exploring additional quarterback options that could possibly supplant Trubisky over the summer?
And it’s not as if Pace didn’t leave himself wiggle room down the line. As Brad Biggs, Adam Jahns, and JJ Stankevitz noted in the tweets embedded above, “competition” was the buzzword of the day for the Bears GM, who brought up competition being something he wants at all positions — quarterback included.
“When we look at last season, it’s a multitude of factors. It’s not just the quarterback. It’s a number of factors, and for us it started January 1. We made some staff changes, evaluating our own roster, establishing our needs, and now it’s just attacking that. And it’s creating competition everywhere. And that’s creating competition at quarterback and throughout our entire roster.”
It didn’t stop there.
“I believe competition brings out the best in everybody.”
“Our players know what’s best for the team, and what’s best for the team is creating competition everywhere.”
“Throughout our team, that’s what we want. Everybody fighting for starting jobs. That’s what we want to create.”
If any of this feels familiar, it’s because we are essentially re-living what Pace said at the end of December when he said: “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’s going to make. … 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 what we’re going to do, we’re not there yet.”
Pace also remained as non-committal when asked about Trubisky’s fifth-year option in this morning’s press conference as he was when it was brought into the discussion back in December. Pace said the team would make a decision in May on an option year that could cost north of $24 million in 2021.
Conveniently, that would be after both the first waves of free agency and the NFL Draft. Huh … go figure. It’s almost like if the Bears were absolutely certain that Mitch was the starter in September they would be picking up that option, eh?
Ultimately, actions speak louder than words. But when the general manager’s words are about inaction, they speak volumes. Think about it. Previously, Pace was quick to commit to picking up the option on Leonard Floyd’s rookie deal, and had made quick decisions on option years on the first contracts of Kyle Fuller and Kevin White. So with that in mind, it is tough to imagine Pace being as all-in on Trubisky has the Bears’ long-term quarterback when he won’t even commit to picking up an extra year on his rookie deal.
If you were rooting for some sort of clarity to come to the future of the Bears’ quarterback position today, you probably should have known better. The only thing that’s clear at this point is that the future of the position is up in the air with competition being the one thing that appears to be clearly on the horizon.