Football rumor mongering is big business. It draws eyes to the twitter accounts of access merchants desperate to be the first person to break a story. It brings clicks to websites that are all too willing to write anything and post it online for the sake of views. It also acts as a tool of misinformation from professional teams, all too happy to use the blue check marked retweet whores to push out rumors for their own gain.
To whit, after multiple weeks of vague insinuations and loose accompaniment, Carson Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a 3rd round pick this year, and a 2nd round pick next year which can be upgraded to a first. This after multiple reports over the past week that the Colts were not really interested. This after multiple reports over the past week that the Bears were the front runner. This after multiple reports over the past week that there were no real suitors for Wentz. This after multiple reports over the past week that the Eagles wanted multiple first round picks for their quarterback. This after multiple reports blah blah blah blah blah.
The point is, there are always a million rumors going around, some more viable than others. After the trade went down, Jay Glazer, who tends to get this stuff right because he doesn’t try to get this stuff first, said that the Bears were sniffing around Wentz, but never even made a formal offer for him. They weren’t willing to part with assets for someone they didn’t necessarily see as a long term improvement for the team.
Good. The fact is, Wentz is a league average quarterback with an outlier good season (2017) and an outlier bad season (2020). There is no big mystery to this. Wentz had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL in 2017. Because of free agency, injuries, the passing of time ,etc, he didn’t have a good offensive line in 2020. What you were going to get out of Wentz was someone who, 15% above his average year, was going to give you Jay Cutler. At 15% below his average year, he was going to be Nick Foles.
When you are a team with a bad offensive line and Nick Foles already on the roster, Wentz made no sense. Could he improve with the Indianapolis Colts? Oh, most definitely. It’s not even that his old QB guru Frank Reich is the coach in Indy. It has more to do with the fact that they have a good offensive line that should give him time to make all his mistakes in a clean pocket. Remember, in 2020, 2/3 of Wentz’s interceptions were thrown with a clean pocket, even though he was under pressure more than any other quarterback in the NFL. He was playing against shadows. The Colts believe they can fix that.
Maybe the Bears could have, as well. But the last time they brought in a player who fit with their previous system, Nick Foles went out and played at a pretty piss poor level. They did nothing for the development of Mitch Trubisky. But then again, Mitch never had the ability to play without being constantly pressured, unless they were playing the dregs of the league like the Jaguars.
The bigger issue with the Bears is that they might (probably) have the wrong people in place to build a quarterback up. They need a ready-made Pro Bowler. The problem is that those players don’t come around often. They would have to mortgage their future and take a shot at Deshaun Watson, or take a chance on guys that were good once but haven’t been in a few years (Wentz, Cam Newton). Their options seem to be growing limited the closer we get to the NFL draft. Let’s take a look at what the Bears can do to improve the most important position on their roster.
What Will He Cost: 1 year, 9 million base salary, 2 million signing bonus, 4 million playing incentive.
What Will The Bears Pay: 2 years, 40 million.
Will He Help the Team: A little bit.
Ftzmagic is considered a great teammate who will still push as hard as he can to become the starter. He never goes anywhere planning on losing. He has been in the league forever and played in numerous offenses, so stepping in to whatever Matt Nagy is going to attempt to run this season shouldn’t be overwelming.
The issue with Fitzpatrick is that, while he has been good enough to play in the NFL for as long as he has, he has never been able to establish himself as a long term starter anywhere. He has washed out of what seems like half the league. He has some Brett Favre style gunslinger in him, but that’s not the best thing to have in the league these days. The arms still seems to be holding up, and he is going to be an upgrade over Nick Foles, but he isn’t a long term solution.
I’d say this will end up being the most likely signing for the Bears, as he will be good enough to buy Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy another year, and will allow them to draft a quarterback in the 2nd or 3rd round this year, and not expect him to start.
What Will He Cost: 4 first round picks, an established player, and someone to fill cap space.
What Will The Bears Pay: What the Saints traded to get Ricky Williams, but double that, and probably Roquan Smith too.
Will He Help the Team: Exponentially.
Since I know everyone is thinking it, lets get this one out of the way. Deshaun Watson is the best quarterback to come available on the market in a long time. He can change the fortune of any team that trades for him. He currently is employed by the least functional team in professional sports, run by a snake oil salesman who doesn’t care if the team goes 0-16 every season as long as he gets his prayer circle every week and can consolidate power.
That said, why would Deshaun Watson want to play in Chicago? Ryan Pace is the guy who thought so little of Watson that, holding the third pick in the draft, Pace wouldn’t even give him an interview, even though he had just won the National Championship and was one of the most exciting players in college. When reports came out about Watson not even being interviewed by the Bears, he wasn’t quiet about his feelings on it. There is a very real possibility that Watson doesn’t want to play in Chicago.
Also, i’m just going to end something right here so I don’t have to reference it again: Nobody should WANT to play for the Bears. They are an original franchise. You know who isn’t? The Buccaneers, who just won the Super Bowl. We have to stop pretending we are better fans because deal with cold weather. The fact is, we are a fan base that lives in the past. Most idiots still pray at the altar of Mike Ditka. There is nothing special about being a member of the Bears. The ownership is a clueless family conglomerate run by Charlie Chaplin’s mom. You know what players care about? Money and winning. The Bears haven’t won a Super Bowl in 35 years, and haven’t been in one in 15. We collectively need to quit pretending like playing in Chicago is some badge of honor. It isn’t. It’s just a city filled with fat gardianara enthusiasts.
What Will He Cost: 2nd Round Pick in 2022
What Will The Bears Pay: 2nd Round Pick in 2021, 3rd Round Pick in 2022.
Will He Help the Team: Probably Not
Marcus Mariota played about a game of football in 2020. This comes after sitting on a bench in 2019, after he was replaced by Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee. Before that, he was Mitch Trubisky without all the prying eyes, because he was playing in a place nobody cared about. Mariota can run a little bit, but so could Trubisky and he died in the Matt Nagy offense. He can throw but has very little deep touch, just like Trubisky.
Bringing in Marcus Mariota is the Bears thinking they are the smartest people in the room (they aren’t) and can make the very narrow minded mold they have for a quarterback work, and that it was all Mitch’s fault thing didn’t work the past two seasons. The only time Mariota has thrown for over 62% completion percentage, he was playing in an offense that was spectacularly dumbed down for him. In 2018, he completed 68% of his passes over 14 games for 2500 yards, That comes out to 180 yards per game, which….is not ideal. He has thrown for ten or more interceptions in a season more times (twice) than he has thrown for 20 or more touchdowns (once).
Spare me if you have heard this line before: Marcus Mariota is a quarterback who was drafted second overall who peaked in his second pro season. Since then, through a combination of injury, interceptions, and ineffectiveness, he finds himself moving on to another team. If that sounds familiar, thats because it is the exact same thing that happened with Mitch Trubisky and Carson Wentz. Time is a flat, stupid circle.
What Will He Cost: a 2nd round pick and a conditional 5th round pick next year.
What Will The Bears Pay: A couple first round picks because the Bears are very dumb
Will He Help the Team: Maybe?
I have serious doubts that Sam Darnold is going to be a good NFL quarterback, and will more likely end up somewhere between Brady Quinn and Mark Sanchez. His completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns all feel very early 80’s. He averages less than 7 yards per attempt which is pretty terrible. As he is, Darnold can maybe be Rex Grossman. Here is why I haven’t given up on him yet.
His coach is Adam Gase. The bane of my existence. The googly eyed idiot who used six good games of Josh McCown to fail upward. After bus tossing people and getting fired in Miami, he latched on to another head coaching job with the Jets. Gase couldn’t handle managing a Five Below, let alone an NFL offense.
Is Darnold good? Probably not. But i’d be interested in seeing what he looks like after he gets the Gase stink off of him.
Trade Up To Draft a QB
What Will He Cost: a 1st and a 2nd this year, and probably a 1st next year.
What Will The Bears Pay: three 1st round picks to move up four spots
Will He Help the Team: Not in the short term
There is absolutely no way that the Bears are able to trade into the top 5 to get either Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, or Zach Wilson. Their best bet is to trade up from 20 into the top 13 for a chance at Trey Lance or Mac Jones. If neither of those choices feels particularly inspiring, thats because they aren’t. Lance could be good but has a limited amount of tape on him, and has never faced real defenses before. Jones has faced real defenses and exploited them because of great coaching. AJ McCarron did something similar at Alabama. I’m not even totally sure he is in the NFL anymore.
Usually, the deeper people go into the quarterback pool in the first round, the lesser chance you have of getting an impact quarterback. Nine times have four or more quarterbacks been drafted in the first round.
The first time, in 1959 gave a Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks that didn’t matter. If you can name one of the top of your head, congratulations, you are a dork. The four that were drafted were: Randy Duncan, Don Allard, Dave Baker, and Lee Grosscup. If you can name the team each person was drafted by, then get bent, you googled them.
In 1983, there were six! Three succeeded: John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino. One had a little bit of success: Tony Eason. The other two crapped out: Ken O’Brien and Todd Blackledge.
In 1987, there were four. Depending on how you feel about Vinny Testaverde, they all kind of crapped out. Kelly Stouffer, Chris Miller, and Jim Harbaugh all had careers, but nothing you would consider mind bogglingly good.
In 1999, five quarterbacks went in the first. Donovan McNabb succeeded. Dante Culpepper was good. Akili Smith, Cade McNown, and Tim Couch crapped out.
2003 gave us Carson Palmer, noted crybaby about current quarterback salaries, and Byron Leftwich, fine enough NFL player who would move on to be a great offensive coordinator, and god willing, Bears coach in 2022. But it also gave us Kyle Boller and, prepare to feel your body shake, Rex Grossman.
2004 will always act as a historical outlier. This was the Eli Manning (count the rings), Philip Rivers (count the kids) and Ben Roethlisberger (count the burgers he eats at Jack in the Box) draft. But can anybody name the fourth guy? YOU BET YOUR ASS it was JP Losman of the Bills.
2011 deserves some kind of participation trophy. Cam Newton was the obvious first pick. After that? By gawd, that’s Jake Locker’s music! And you have to be kidding me, here comes Blaine Gabbert. Oh my god, Christian Ponder has a family, ladies and gentleman! 75% fail rate. Just to be clear, defensive tackle Lawrence Guy was drafted 200 spots after all of these guys, and is still in the NFL. The second and third best quarterbacks to come out of this draft were noted redhead Andy Dalton, and noted blackballed Colin Kaepernick.
2012 is a weird one. Andrew Luck was great, but decided to retire before his brain was apple sauce. Robert Griffin was great, but Mike Shannahan kept playing him and turning in knee ligaments into apple sauce. Ryan Tannehill was a giant bust up until he got into a proper scheme in Tennessee and reinvented himself. And Brandon Weeden was 45 when he was drafted and didn’t do much. Jury is out on this one.
2018 gave us noted quarterback who is terrified of imaginary blitzers Sam Darnold, guy who is in the NFL somewhere but I have no clue where Josh Rosen, guy i’d like to party with and noted commercial success Baker Mayfield, and a former goddamn MVP and pants pooping survivor in Lamar Jackson. Josh Allen might actually be the best of the bunch, due in no small part to the fact that his fans are goddamn nuts.
2020 feels like it’s too soon to call. Joe Burrow was fun as hell until he got hurt. Justin Herbert was fun as hell until he realized he was on a terrible team. Tua Tagovailoa was pretty bad because he can’t throw downfield in a pro style offense. Aaaand Jordan Love is going to be sitting on the bench for eternity because Aaron Rodgers is a spiteful man who happens to be epic at football.
I say all of that to say this: the draft is a crapshoot: you are basically at a 50/50 chance of getting the right QB. Now, let’s just check Ryan Pace’s first round draft success rate…OH MY GOD MY EYES THIS HURTS SO MUCH.
Honestly, the best way to go is to sign Ryan Fitzpatrick and hope that one of two things happens: he is great and leads the Bears to the playoffs. Or, he craps the bed ferociously and gets everyone fired and ensures the Bears a good draft spot next season. It’s gonna be a long year, Bears fans. Time to find an AFC team to root for. I root for the Raiders!