The Bears’ 2020 season was only a few days removed its conclusion when GM Ryan Pace implied a bold approach to fix the team’s quarterback position this offseason. And while we can talk about sensible options, bridge guys, reclamation projects, and others, there has been a sense that the Bears would shoot for the moon this offseason, based on the way Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy have framed their offseason plan.
This brings us to commentary from ESPN NFL insider Jeff Darlington, who makes some pretty strong insinuations connecting Chicago to Deshaun Watson trade talks:
— TheMoncadaArmada (@HashTagWhiteSox) March 1, 2021
There is plenty to soak in during that 58-second clip, but here’s the money quote from Darlington:
“Houston better be careful here. If the Bears decide to go a different direction, Houston’s gonna be saying, at the end of the day, why did we not do that? Because it’s going to be tough to find a team that’s willing to give up as much as the Bears will right now.”
That’s certainly strong. Though it’s also a bit tough to determine if Darlington is meaning to be as bold as he sounds – in terms of suggesting that the Bears, specifically, are offering an obscene return on Watson right now, and that the Texans are simply refusing to engage.
But more than that, this is the first indication we’ve received that, hey, no, seriously, the Bears should be/will be/are in this discussion. Because there’s more there than the hint that there’s an offer. There’s an implication that the Bears *do* have enough to get him and will be *willing* to lay it all out there. Boing. And then there is a specific mention of the Bears as *THE TEAM* to try to game in this process. Because if Watson wants out and is willing to sit out to prove his point, then the Texans would be smart to take advantage of the most QB-starved franchise in football and take them to the cleaners for a franchise quarterback.
But whatever … the implication the Bears *are* willing to give up a monster package *right now* for Watson hooks me. As does the idea that there could come a time when Texans GM Nick Caserio looks back and thinks: Crud, why didn’t we take advantage of the Bears’ desperation when we had the chance? Again, it’s a theoretical situation, but it’s also a heavy-handed implication. One that passes along the sense of desperation that the everyone feels the Bears have when it comes to their quarterback hunt.
Ultimately, this brings me back to the Bears being dead-set on landing an honest-to-goodness franchise quarterback. And that the Texans would be flat out silly to continue ignoring the Bears’ calls and offers – not just because it could provide them an opportunity to go about rebuilding their team, but also because there’s another team with a quarterback it can offer that could easily take advantage of the Bears’ willingness to do business in this tier: The Seattle Seahawks.
Indeed, the Seahawks could demonstrate (and justify) just as much interest in the sort of package the Bears are willing to dish for Watson, by more seriously considering Russell Wilson’s passive-aggressive trade request? Remember, Wilson’s agent already put it out there that Wilson would consider the Bears (among just three other teams!). And there’s already been chatter about Wilson seeing Chicago as a legacy-building opportunity. Heck, Jimmy Graham is reportedly luring Wilson to Chicago by saying nice things about the city and team.
In the end, the Bears sound ready to hand over a bag of goodies for a premier QB who wants out of their current situation. There are two teams who make sense as recipients of the bag. And NFL minds believe they would be flat-out silly to not want to be the franchise holding that bag in the end. Buckle up, Bears fans. This could be the sort of hair-pulling fun we all deserve.