Carson Wentz is going to the Colts. Good for him. The Eagles get a clean break with a new staff, have an incumbent quarterback they probably like enough to be a bridge, and the sixth overall pick should they want to use it on a top-tier prospect. Meanwhile, the Colts land a quarterback known well by a coaching staff who believes they can rebuild him.
And then there are the Bears, who remain without a quarterback at this juncture.
The good news is that Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season isn’t for another seven months. And Chicago isn’t the only team in quarterback limbo (i.e. missing out on Wentz isn’t the end of the world). Even still … we’ve now seen two intriguing options go off the board in the span of 19 days.
So … what’s left? Let’s discuss.
Continuing to Explore the Trade Market
Trading for Deshaun Watson seems like the longest of long shots. Should the Bears feel conviction that (1) the Texans will budge on their insistence on keeping Watson and (2) Watson would OK a deal to Chicago, then the patient play is the one to make here. Houston should be in no rush to deal Watson. And if the Bears are willing to play a waiting game similar to the one they participated in before the Khalil Mack trade, then more power to them if that’s their move. But doing that comes with an awful lot of risk.
Derek Carr figures to be next-man-up on the obsessive rumor watch. And we’ve already been put on high alert that the Bears would be interested if he became available. But the Raiders don’t need to push Carr out the door right now. Especially not if there isn’t an upgrade who becomes immediately available. On the other hand, Las Vegas’ football team could shop Marcus Mariota. It’s not the sexiest name on the market, but it’s one with previous ties to the Bears.
We entertained the idea of the Bears signing Teddy Bridgewater last year. So did the Bears, as confirmed by Head Coach Matt Nagy. The Panthers are drafting high enough to discuss drafting a QB prospect in the top-10. Or they could be interested in shopping that pick in their own pursuit of Watson. If Bridgewater is dangled onto the market, I imagine Chicago might inquire about his services.
The Dolphins are in an intriguing spot. They could be the biggest players in the Watson sweepstakes, and thus, make Tua Tagovailoa available in a deal. Logically, Tagovailoa would be sent to Houston in a Watson deal. Although, we know better than to think NFL executives act logically when recent history shows us otherwise. Should Houston not want Tagovailoa, the Bears could kick the tires on acquiring him in a deal that theoretically sends draft capital to Miami, which could be used to snag Watson.
While we’re climbing up the draft board, Gardner Minshew II makes sense as a possible target. With Trevor Lawrence (presumably) on his way to Jacksonville, the Jaguars could seek to upgrade their QB2. Perhaps the Jaguars could bring on someone with more experience to help guide Lawrence. And if that’s the case, Minshew could be available in a deal. However, this wouldn’t be something that should cost much in a trade.
Same for Sam Darnold, whose days with the Jets are dwindling. The expectation is that New York’s AFC team will take Zach Wilson or even Justin Fields. But that doesn’t even need to become officially official for trade rumors to pop up. More on that later this afternoon.
Dak Prescott feels like a pipe dream. But because Jerry Jones is unpredictable, it’s a situation we’ll monitor closely.
Beyond that, the list is equal parts intriguing (if you think about it hard enough) and uninspiring.
Jacoby Brissett, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor, and Cam Newton headline the most interesting possibilities.
The NFL Draft
Now that we know the Bears still have a first-round pick, trading up for Justin Fields or Zach Wilson doesn’t seem impossible. In fact, I think that’s the most likely scenario for a major upside play. Making a move up the draft boards for one of the two players duking it out for QB2 status would constitute the type of big swing GM Ryan Pace teased earlier in the offseason.
Otherwise, we’re sorting through other options. Trey Lance has real skills and loud tools, but needs seasoning and tutoring before starting. Because while his talent jumps out, last fall’s showcase game suggests he needs refinement.
Elsewhere, Mac Jones is a popular Round 1 target. And while I understand the hang-ups that come with starting just one year in college, Jones drew rave reviews for his orchestration of Alabama’s offense. The Kyle Trask train slowed considerably by year’s end, but the Florida product has early Day 2 vibes. Other intriguing prospects with upside include Kellen Mond, Jamie Newman, and Davis Mills. Those are the types of players one could envision teaming with Nick Foles or another veteran until they figure out the system.
Ultimately, we’re equally closer and further from finding a solution to the Bears’ quarterback problems. Go figure.