NFL general managers and head coaches are the secretive types. The ones who will go above and beyond to hide a morsel of information or use sleight of hand to distract for the sake of distraction. But when it comes to the Chicago Bears’ future quarterbacking situation, GM Ryan Pace pulled no punches.
Fixing the quarterback position “is what this offseason’s all about,” Pace said on Wednesday.
To that end, Pace also added this:
Ryan Pace says "everything’s on the table" for acquiring or selecting a quarterback in 2021.
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) January 13, 2021
On on the one hand, it’s nice to hear an acknowledgement that getting it right at quarterback is a priority. Then again, I found myself asking WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG!? when I heard Pace say those words.
That “everything is on the table” in terms of acquiring a quarterback via free agency, a trade, or the draft is good news. It’s welcome news. Isolating a problem, then planning to address it with full force and vigor is a step in the right direction. But in putting it out there in that way, Pace is showing his cards. And in doing so, letting the NFL world that he’s open for business. Traditionally, this is how front offices get worked on the trade or free agent contract negotiations (it’s not like the Bears’ QB needs are a secret, so maybe it doesn’t matter as much as I think? I hope so).
Moving forward, the Bears should leave no stone left un-turned in this process. No half-measures should be taken. Settling for a quarterback because he is familiar with the system shouldn’t be an option. Drafting a project quarterback with the intent of starting him immediately ain’t it either. Chicago needs to go big or go home. Otherwise, what was the point in running it back in 2021 with a win-now mandate?
Dak Prescott has been on our radar before. And with “everything” being on the table, this is an avenue the Bears would conceivably travel down in their quarterback search. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor, Cam Newton, and Jacoby Brissett are among the high-profile quarterback options. Previously, the Bears have been connected to Dalton and Newton.
Trading for Deshaun Watson feels unlikely, but I’ll ever tell you to stop dreaming the biggest dreams. Speaking of which, what would it take to pry Matthew Stafford from a division rival? If everything is on the table, then Pace should nudge whomever gets that Lions GM gig as soon as they get into that chair. Kick the tires on Tua Tagovailoa should the Dolphins decide to use the No. 3 overall pick on a quarterback? Can’t necessarily rule that out.
Considering how quarterbacks on rookie scale contracts are worth their weight in gold to teams in competitive windows, drafting the best quarterback in the non-Trevor Lawrence division sounds like the best idea. Trade up for Zach Wilson? His stock certainly skyrocketed throughout the college football season. Make a move up the board for Justin Fields? The Ohio State product would be QB1 in a draft class that didn’t include Lawrence. Roll the dice on Trey Lance’s athletic upside? Throw away the one-off showcase game last fall, and it’s easy to fall head-over-heels with a player with that frame (6-4, 225), stellar collegiate production as a one-year starter as a redshirt freshman. Stand pat and hope Mac Jones falls into the low 20s? Jones definitely made himself a bunch of money with his performance in the college football playoff.
In any case, the time is now to swing for the fences. The general manager said as much on Wednesday.