It was around this time last year when hints were being subtly dropped hints that the Bears would seek out quarterback help in the offseason to come.
The names of Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, Teddy Bridgewater, and Cam Newton emerged in the fall and winter, long before Chicago pursued each last spring. So when I see Sam Darnold’s name pop up in connection with the Bears now, alarms go off in my head. Knowing that (1) the Jets will almost certainly be dumping him in favor of Trevor Lawrence and (2) Chicago makes sense as a logical landing spot, it’s impossible to ignore the obvious.
ESPN NFL Draft insider Mel Kiper Jr. is the latest to link Darnold and the Bears. Kiper checked in with Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times to discuss Chicago’s draft-eligible quarterback options. Even still … the discussion turned to Darnold. And when it came to weighing the risks of the Bears’ quarterback pursuit, Kiper levied two important questions
• Would you be better off with Sam Darnold than Trey Lance, Sam Darnold than Mac Jones?
• Would you rather have to give up a 2 and a 4 to get Darnold, and then you [use] a first to help your quarterback?
Suggesting a buy-low dice-roll on Darnold isn’t the wackiest idea. As Finley pointed out, Darnold is seven months younger than Bengals rookie Joe Burrow. So there’s hope for Darnold’s future, even if there’s a possibility misuse in New York might’ve broken him. Even still … it isn’t much of a stretch to look to his USC tape and pre-draft scouting reports as more valuable than whatever can be glean from his experience with the Jets. It’s probably too deep to go down this rabbit hole, but there’s enough smoke coming from it to acknowledge its existence.
This is now the third time Darnold’s name has come up in connection with the Bears. It first happened in October, when the Bears were name-dropped as a possible fit by ESPN insider Adam Schefter. A second connection came earlier in November. That’s when SI.com’s Albert Breer suggested turning 2nd and 5th round picks for Darnold. From there, Breer offered up the idea of using their first-rounder an offensive tackle. He even called it a dream scenario for the Bears. I don’t want to argue against one’s dreams, so I’ll instead say that the football logic is sound, even if the player, himself, has many question-marks.
That we’re having this conversation in the first place is because the Bears are in no-man’s land. Not bad enough to land a sure-fire game-changing quarterback at the top of the draft. Not good enough to be the Super Bowl contender. Hence, the need for creativity and some improvisational skills to fix the quarterback problem. Brace yourselves, friends. Not only do we have six games to go, what lies ahead in the offseason could be an adventure.