Even after Nick Foles led the Bears to another come-from-behind victory, the minds at Pro Football Focus don’t seem all that impressed.
The headline attached to Sam Monson’s post-game piece reads “Nick Foles hasn’t fixed the Chicago Bears’ QB dilemma.” Meanwhile, Anthony Treash insists GM Ryan Pace should be working the phone lines in search of an upgrade at the position. Specifically, Treash suggests reaching out to Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff with the intent to acquire Matt Ryan.
Well, Dimitroff is gone now. As is Head Coach Dan Quinn. So while a tear-down and rebuild seem to be on the horizon, not having a GM in place at the moment presses pause on the idea of Atlanta trading its long-time quarterback. Nevertheless, let’s discuss this from a big picture standpoint.
Ryan, 35, has thrown for at least 4,000 yards in each of the last nine years and is on pace to do it again. The four-time Pro Bowler and 2016 MVP is a consistent thrower who knows how to distribute the pigskin. And with the Falcons off to an 0-5 start and positioning themselves to land a top pick, the team could look to the 2021 NFL Draft to start a rebuild with someone like Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. That would leave Ryan as an odd-man out. Hence, Treash’s proposal to get out in front of it, deal Ryan, and commit to a tank. Thus, allowing the Bears to reap the benefits.
And to be fair, Treash’s reasoning is sound. The Bears have a well-rounded roster in the thick of the playoff hunt, save for the question-marks at quarterback. In that vein, a consistent signal caller could do wonders for the offense (and the team).
Of course, there are significant hang ups. For instance, trade compensation. The demand for quality quarterback play isn’t going down any time soon, so Falcons could command a hefty price. Yes, even for one nearing the twilight of his career. And then there are contractual cost considerations.
Ryan is in the third year of a six-year extension that could pay him up to $150 million. Trading Ryan could create a fair amount of cap savings for Atlanta. But the team inheriting that deal — in this case, the Bears — would have to do a ton of restructuring in order to make it fit. Sure, it might be worth it in the short term, but the long-term ramifications could be unsightly.
And then there’s the ultimate challenge of making a player-team fit within the confines of an in-season move. That means getting Ryan up-to-speed with the playbook and terminology. Not to mention providing a crash course on building a rapport with teammates. A late-season bye in Week 11 could be helpful in that regard. If it isn’t, then we’re looking at the Bears’ offensive minds changing the playbook to accommodate the new guy. It’s a lot to ask for coach and player. I mean, there’s a reason a deal like the one Threash proposed would be unlike anything we’ve seen before.
In the end, it’ll be worth watching what the Falcons do. They likely aren’t likely to trade Ryan before this year’s deadline, but it’s something to keep in mind for later. And so long as the Bears’ QB situation remains unsettled, they’ll be connected to any one that becomes available.