Typically, I do not like to engage with the rumor mills before free agency begins. There is always a ton of speculation and hearsay to go around but most of it is just smoke. However, there are three scenarios surrounding the Bears and their quarterback situation which intrigue me. We’ll begin with the least likely to happen.
Least Likely: Teddy Bridgwater
Last season, Bridgwater had himself an incredible five-game stretch while Drew Brees was out with a hand injury.
|3 yr||3 yr||MIN||28||17-11-0||551||851||64.7||6150||28||22||7.2||6.7||11.2||205.0||86.3||83||556||5.99||5.53||4||4||22|
|2 yr||2 yr||NOR||6||5-1-0||147||219||67.1||1502||10||3||6.9||7.2||10.2||107.3||96.1||14||97||6.03||6.31||1||2||6|
In those five games, Bridgewater’s completion percentage was 67.9 and his yards-gained-per-pass-completion (Y/C) was 10.4. This stands out to me because of the Saints’ impressive offensive scheme last season. They could gain yards at will even with their backup quarterback at the helm. The Bears could use someone with that kind of accuracy and poise to lead the offense considering Mitchell Trubisky’s Y/C has decreased from 11.2 to 9.6.
Also, Bridgewater averaged a 64.7 completion percentage with an 11.2 Y/C during his three years in Minnesota. He had a poor 22 interceptions for his 28 touchdowns, but I’ll write that off as rookie mistakes and a learning curve. His interceptions decreased significantly in his time leading the Saints.
In this scenario, Bridgewater is the obvious starter and Trubisky remains the backup. Why wouldn’t he, right? Trubisky knows Matt Nagy’s offense and there would be little worry of the offense working correctly if something happened to Bridgewater.
This kind of a move from Ryan Pace is of the “win now and here is our missing piece” type. It would mean Pace admitting that he was wrong to draft Trubisky, albeit internally vocalized, and finding the proper replacement who could comfortably start immediately.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
Teddy Bridgewater is expensive. He sat for the Saints and made $7.25 million with a $3.25 cap hit in 2019 and is expected to make well over that in 2020. It’s expected he’ll have a contract worth north of $18 million and his cap hit will be closer to $10 million. The Bears would likely have to make some cuts in order to afford him and retain certain key pieces on defense.
There is also no way Ryan Pace lets Trubisky sit. He does not want his legacy to be:
Ryan Pace will do absolutely everything in his power to see Mitchell Trubisky succeed, and as fans, we should all be rooting for him to do just that. You wouldn’t hope the pilot of your airplane fails right?
Increasing Possibility: Jameis Winston
It’s very difficult for me to trust any quarterback who possesses more interceptions than passing yards. Alright, maybe I exaggerated those numbers slightly but I think you get my point. Winston is entering unrestricted free agency in 2020 and it’s looking more likely the Buccaneers will move on from him. It’s a little surprising to hear these rumors considering the man threw for over 5,000 yards and 33 touchdowns, but I’m sure the 30 interceptions he added onto those numbers have something to do with it.
In this scenario, Winston would be the backup to Trubisky. His time in the NFL has proven one thing to me and it’s that he’s wildly inconsistent. He has shown flashes of greatness and extreme mediocrity while making a grand $46 million over those five years. Winston has also taken a gigantic number of sacks over his tenure. Of course, poor offensive line play is a factor here, but knowing when to throw the ball away is a characteristic that cannot be taught. As a professional quarterback, you should understand when to not take a sack.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
I do not believe Matt Nagy sees potential in Winston to work out as a starter. Could he be an upgrade over Trubisky? Possibly. Would he bring in competition to make Trubisky work harder? Absolutely. I see this as a move Pace would have to make behind Nagy’s back or at the very least with plenty of tension and resistance. Pace might have to move an asset or two to clear some cap space for Winston in the range of $8-9 million. The likeliness of Pace’s boldness here: improbable.
Most Likely – Andy Dalton
It’s been no secret as of late that Andy Dalton wants out of Cincinnati. It’s already been made public knowledge that the Bengals are working on a move to get him out of there. With the increasing probability of them drafting Joe Burrow with the number one overall pick, Dalton wants out. I don’t blame him here either. If I felt I could still play at the highest level here and some youngling was coming up the ladder to take my job, I’d want out too.
The Bears also just hired Bill Lazor as their new offensive coordinator, and he spent two years (2017 and 2018) as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator. He has a history of working with Dalton already and I could see him pushing Nagy to use “his guy” over Trubisky.
Dalton is pushing 33 years old and if he did become the starter for the Bears, it would most likely be the result of Trubisky taking a seat because of poor play. Over the span of nine years, Dalton’s career ranges everywhere on the spectrum from mediocre to pretty decent. Similarly to Jameis Winston, Dalton has shown flashes of greatness while having some seriously terrible games as well.
WHY IT COULD HAPPEN
With the aforementioned hiring of Bill Lazor and the opportunity presented with Dalton wanting out of Cincinnati, this move makes too much sense to me. Suppose the Bears start the 2020 season with a 1-3 record. If Trubisky is even remotely responsible for those losses, I can totally see him being benched for a veteran like Dalton.
There are more than just these three rumors swirling, however. Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota have both been linked to the Bears lately, but I don’t believe either of them will be moving to Chicago any time soon. First of all, of all the potential quarterbacks in this carousel, why would Jon Gruden want anyone other than Carr to work with? They’ve already spent enough time together to know what they have in each other. I think Carr stays in
Oakland Las Vegas.
As for Marcus Mariota, he’s the biggest question mark to me. He lost his starting job because Ryan Tannehill stole it from him and rightly so. I think it’s pretty obvious that Teddy Bridgewater ends up in Los Angeles with the Chargers. I think Phillip Rivers winds up signing with the Buccaneers, seeing as he has already moved to Florida. Jameis Winston could easily end up somewhere like Carolina. If Cam Newton joins Ron Rivera in Washington, then Winston could battle for the starting job in Carolina.