Fifth-Year Option Inspirations, Future Options, Missed Opportunities, and Other Bears Bullets

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Fifth-Year Option Inspirations, Future Options, Missed Opportunities, and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Everything I cooked yesterday during a front-lawn, social distancing BBQ was eaten. Polish sausages, Vienna Beef smokies, Italian sausages, boneless beef short-rib kabobs, chicken breasts … everything.

So much for “I’ll cook enough for two days.”

•   While I was grilling, news came down on the Chicago Bears reportedly declining the fifth-year option on Mitch Trubisky’s rookie contract. The decision didn’t come as a surprise, especially if you consider the ups-and-downs of Trubisky’s three-year run as the Bears’ QB1, and what Chicago did this offseason to bring in Nick Foles for an open competition. This offseason is the most important of Trubisky’s career. And while I still have doubts about preseason games being played this summer, but they would be the most important exhibitions of Trubisky’s career (if played). It will be followed by the most important regular season in his career. I cannot overstate how big of a year this is for Trubisky.

•   This isn’t hyperbole, either. What happens with Trubisky this year will steer his career path moving forward. Trubisky’s path to returning to the Bears in 2021 (and beyond?) is by having a dynamic season that suggests he is worth QB1 money. A mediocre season probably spells the end of his tenure in Chicago, but could put him on the radar of another team that views him as a fixer-upper, someone for a future QB competition, of an upgrade at QB2. Anything else could put Trubisky in a position to where he could start his career as a journeyman quarterback. Again … this is a swing year for Trubisky.

•   If I was in Trubisky’s shoes, I’d look to Kyle Fuller for inspiration. The Bears declined the fifth-year option on Fuller’s rookie deal after three uneven seasons of play, only to watch him take off in Year 4. Fuller played his best ball as a Bear, was retained by way of the Transition tag, then signed a deal with the Packers (which the Bears obviously matched). Since then, Fuller has put together an All-Pro season, followed by a Pro Bowl year. I think the Bears’ front office would do back flips if lightning struck twice.

•   The big difference is in the money it would cost to keep Trubisky on a tag (at least compared to what it took to keep Fuller in Chicago’s secondary). Fuller’s deal (currently the seventh-highest per-year value) is worth $14M AAV. That’s not bad, especially if you consider the importance of defensive backs in the grand scheme of modern football. But the projected Transition tag for a QB projects to be north of $24 million. But we have a while before anyone gets to that bridge, let alone starts to cross it.

•   If you’re wondering why the Bears declined the option instead of picking it up, then rescinding it like they did with Leonard Floyd, just know that you are not alone. For the Bears, declining the option puts the Bears in a similar position as to what the Titans were in with Marcus Mariota at this time last year. Tennessee declined the option, then watched Mariota sign with the Raiders in the offseason, which put them in a more favorable place in the compensatory draft pick formula in 2021. The Bears, by rescinding the option by releasing Floyd in March, will not get anything toward the comp pick formula whenever Floyd’s deal with the Rams becomes officially official.

•   An update:

•   I see this tweet and am reminded the Bears aren’t the only team that fumbled the bag on draft day 2017. It’s not much of a consolation prize, but Field Yates is right when he chimes in with “It’s hard to find a sure thing in the draft.”

•   As a reminder: Fifth-year options are fully guaranteed upon execution starting next year. That means the NFL Draft class of 2018 is on deck. Looking at you, Roquan Smith.

•   Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune opines the Bears should have drafted a quarterback at some point of last week’s draft. And considering that both Trubisky and Foles could be free agents after this coming season, there’s probably something to that line of thinking. Having a young quarterback behind Trubisky and Foles whose sole purpose on the roster is to be the developmental option would have been sensible. And if you think about the value in having a quarterback with a rookie scale contract, it leaves me scratching my head as to why they didn’t go down that road at any point on draft weekend.

•   To be clear, I understand that the likelihood of hitting on a late-round quarterback is slim. But a slim percent chance is higher than 0 percent, which is what it is when you don’t draft a quarterback to be that guy. This could turn out to be a missed opportunity that this front office will regret over time. Hopefully, it won’t … but I have my concerns.

•   This is an angle I hadn’t thought about:

•   Nicholas Moreano (The Chicago Audible) wrote one of the best things I’ve read about a Bears draft pick, as Moreano caught up with Tennessee State Offensive Line Coach Russ Ehrenfeld, who had his hand in molding Bears seventh-round pick Lachavious Simmons. There’s a bunch of anecdotal goodness in the post, as well as reasons as to why I’m excited to see Simmons put in work and maybe make the team as a reserve lineman.

•   This one hit the mark as a must-read, too:

•   Amazon best sellers and deals for the kitchen, to the extent you are doing more cooking/baking than ever, like I am. #ad

•   A COVID-19 and Sports Update from Brett includes some NFL-related nuggets:

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.