UPDATE UP TOP: The Bears are trading for Nick Foles. The rest of the original post remains below.
Alright, so before we jump directly into the newest rumors, let’s see if we can briefly recap the status of the current QB circus.
Tom Brady is heading to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which leaves Jameis Winston out of a starting job for the moment. Philip Rivers is signing with the Colts. Case Keenum is signing with Cleveland. Ryan Tannehill received a big extension to stay in Tennessee. Drew Brees is sticking in New Orleans, making room for Teddy Bridgewater to replace Cam Newton in Carolina, who never asked to seek a trade, but is … being allowed to seek a trade nonetheless. The Lions grabbed former Bears backup QB Chase Daniel. And Marcus Mariota has come to terms with the Las Vegas Raiders, where he’ll serve as the backup to Derek Carr (who’s almost certainly staying put now). *breathes* Did I catch it all?
The Bears, meanwhile, have Mitch Trubisky entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, with no backups behind him and a clear desire to push him down the depth chart. Or at minimum, push him in ways he hasn’t since he was drafted. They had been connected to a number of those QBs listed above (including something hot-and-heavy with Teddy Bridgewater there for a minute), but may also be down to some combination of Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, and Nick Foles.
So let’s start there.
- Yesterday, the Indianapolis Colts agreed to terms on a one-year, $25M guarantee deal with Philip Rivers, who will play for someone other than the Chargers for the first time in his professional career. But apparently, it was a deal that almost wasn’t. According to Mike Garafolo, the Colts were engaged in trade conversations with the Jaguars regarding Nick Foles throughout the day and at the exact same time:
From Free Agency Frenzy on @nflnetwork: Before signing Philip Rivers, the #Colts were working multiple QB options, including a potential trade with the #Jaguars for Nick Foles. pic.twitter.com/ntA5vYTbjT
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 18, 2020
- And while that doesn’t indicate any lukewarmness on Rivers from the Colts, it does go to show a willingness from the Jaguars to move on from Foles (even a trade within the division wasn’t out of the question). Moreover, Garafolo notes that Foles name has come up in connection to other teams lately, specifically mentioning the Chicago Bears. Like we said at the top, Foles is pretty clearly in the Bears’ lane for 2020. Heck, he was connected to the Bears in the middle of last season and earlier this winter, as well. To deny the obvious connection/interest would be incorrect.
- And remember, Foles has experience with Matt Nagy (Philly and KC), Bill Lazor (Philly), and John DeFilippo (Philly and Jacksonville). He’s also proven himself to be a capable backup and starting-caliber quarterback when given the right system and weapons around him. At this point, given the volume and frequency of connections between the Bears and Jaguars (re Foles), it’s likely both sides know exactly what it would take to get something done. Whether that helps a deal or prevents one remains to be seen.
- Of course, Foles is merely an option and not the option, because the Bears and Panthers have reportedly been in recent contact about Cam Newton. Brett looked at that news earlier, but the crux of the story is whether the Bears can (and would want to) pull together an acceptable package for Newton before he’s released to the market and forces some broader competition.
- Like, for example, Washington:
Regarding Washington as a potential destination for Cam Newton, I'm told the team discussed it, talks did not rise to the level of definitive interest at this time, more of a "wait & see mode" right now observing Newton's market. #Skins also like their young guys too, per source.
— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 18, 2020
- Washington currently has Colt McCoy, 33, and their 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins Jr. (15th overall) in the QB room, so they have options, but it’s not entirely clear what they have in Haskins just yet. They’d probably be wise to let him have a legitimate go at it in 2020, unencumbered by competition with a clear starter like Newton – and that seems to be their intention for now – but we’ll have to wait and see.
- Nate Sudfeld is staying with the Eagles. In an alternative universe, I could have envisioned the Bears making a run at the 26-year-old Sudfeld. He served as the QB3 for the Eagles last year behind Carson Wentz and Josh McCown, but as a young guy with some upside and prior knowledge of the system to round out the QBs room, would have been a nice touch. But the Bears simply aren’t in a situation to make that type of quarterback a priority. Right now, in free agency/trade, they need to focus on a guy who could possibly supplant Trubisky.
- It’s a weird world where Tom Brady leaving the Patriots is like the 5th biggest story in sports – but, thanks to the way the Coronavirus is impacting everything so significantly, here we are. Nonetheless, Brady’s arrival in Tampa Bay spells the end of starts for Jameis Winston. So does this mean the guy who threw 33 TDs (and 30 interceptions) last season is now a backup?
- Maybe so:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2020
- The Patriots, Dolphins, Chargers, Bengals (likely taking Joe Burrow), and, well, the Bears could all have starting jobs theoretically open for Winston, but there are caveats aplenty for each: “You look around the league and there’s really not any starting opportunities,” said Rapoport. “I was told from the Los Angeles Chargers’ perspective, if Jameis was available then they were probably not going to be the home for him. If you look, where could Jameis land, he’s probably going to be a backup.”
- I guess that’s a backup with upside, but it’s also a backup with baggage.
- One circle back to the Foles-Colts thing – does that mean the Colts are really not at all high on Jacoby Brissett? Or are they already considering moving him back to the Patriots? TBD, but clearly they were looking for a veteran to either take over or push Brissett.
- Nothing new to add at the moment on Andy Dalton. With the Bengals certain to take Joe Burrow, it’s a virtual lock that they’ll also move on from Dalton soon. Whether that takes the form of a release or a trade is probably what a few teams are waiting to see. It’s not hard to see the short-term fit with the Bears or the Patriots, though, depending on coordinating moves.
- Weird how things change:
Tannehill gets $29 million a year.
Teddy gets $20 million a year.
And nobody wants Jameis or Cam.
Imagine how weird that would have sounded a year ago.
— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) March 18, 2020