When news crossed our wires that Mitchell Trubisky suffered a serious shoulder injury on his one run play on Sunday, I briefly thought about how that could have been his last play with the Bears.
And maybe it will be. But at least we know the injury isn’t a season-ender.
Even still … some circles are already considering what lies ahead for Trubisky’s future in the league.
For example, The Athletic’s Adam Jahns tried his hand at identifying future team fits for Trubisky in 2021. And to be honest, it’s not as bleak as you might otherwise think. Save for the obvious exception to the rule *stares in Kaepernick* the NFL tends to give players with high-round draft pedigree second chances. So in a 32-team league where there simply aren’t 32 viable starting quarterbacks, there’s a decent chance someone is going to give Trubisky a shot to work his way back. But it’ll start as a backup.
How does one justify this? ESPN analyst Matt Bowen tells Jahns he believes Trubisky’s athletic traits (arm talent, mobility) gives him a leg up on getting a second chance. In hashing it out with Bowen and an anonymous NFL team executive, Jahns settles on a handful of possible fits. Ultimately, Jahns lands on the Titans, Browns, Vikings, Panthers, and Saints as possible future landing spots for Trubisky. These are all intriguing possibilities for one reason or another.
Take the Saints as an obvious candidate to take on Trubisky as a reclamation project. Sean Payton is a master developer of quarterbacks. Check out his work with Teddy Bridgewater, which helped him become a highly sought after free agent after spending time as Drew Brees’ backup. And if that happens for Jameis Winston, then Trubisky would be wise to make a beeline for New Orleans for a career reset.
Perhaps working behind Bridgewater would make sense, too. The Panthers are a rebuilding team that could seek a viable backup for Bridgewater. In this instance, Trubisky would work with another quarterback guru in Joe Brady — whose efforts with Joe Burrow at LSU put him back in the NFL this season. Brady could be in line for a head-coaching job sooner, rather than later. But so long as Brady is in Carolina, that should be a place Trubisky looks at moving forward.
The Vikings and Browns have similar reasons why they make sense for Trubisky’s next chapter. If Minnesota’s coaches see untapped potential that Chicago hasn’t, then that NFC North rival makes sense. Wouldn’t torching a division rival be the sweetest revenge? And because Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski saw plenty of Trubisky as a Vikings assistant, a similar line of thinking could work for the Browns.
And then there are the Titans, whose successful rebuilding of Ryan Tannehill – the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft – can’t be overstated. Heck, they even made viable packages for failed 2015 first-rounder Marcus Mariota. So long as Tennessee looks like somewhere for QB career revivals, the Titans remain an option.
In the end, it might not feel like Trubisky has a shot to bounce back. Every Trubisky move since draft day 2017 has been under a microscope. His shortcomings have been front-and-center at every turn. But when talent evaluators see Trubisky’s traits and remember his prospect pedigree, one figures to roll the dice. All it takes is one. Whether Trubisky makes the most of a second chance is up to him.