Having options always benefits the buyer, not the seller.
Imagine walking into a supermarket. You need cereal but all you see on the shelf is Cheerios. In this scenario, General Mills is sitting pretty, knowing they're guaranteed maximum profit on return seeing as how they've monopolized the market, leaving you with only one choice to satisfy your breakfast needs.
Next week, you return to the same supermarket needing more cereal and you're delighted when you see that, not only is there plenty of Cheerios, but now Frosted Flakes are available as well. Kelloggs has essentially muddied the waters for General Mills, creating competition by allowing the buyer to choose amongst multiple options.
Now, apply this same concept to the Bears search for their franchise quarterback.
When the offseason began, Deshaun Watson made it very clear he no longer wanted to be a Houston Texan, making him the biggest fish in a nearly-nonexistent pond. Of course, the Texans ultimately want to keep Watson but they know if they were eventually forced into a trade, they'd be able to collect maximum value because there were no other big names on the block.
However, to this day, the Texans refuse to pursue a deal, ignoring all inquiries and playing a dangerous game of Chicken with their highly-coveted quarterback. After all, superstar signal callers in their mid-20's are as close to the proverbial unicorn as you're going to get. So, it makes sense that Houston is attempting to hold on to him for dear life.
*Russell Wilson Enters the Chat*
Fast forward nearly a month to the day of Watson's trade request and we're hit with the news that Russell Wilson, a perennial MVP candidate, is no longer happy in Seattle. He announced through his agent that he would accept a trade to four preferred destinations; Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Dallas.
In the blink of an eye, not only did Watson's value on the trade market take a hit, but so did the leverage Houston once had over the Bears, Saints and Raiders, three teams consistently linked to acquiring Watson. Armed with the knowledge that Wilson would welcome the chance to wear their uniform, these teams could now rebuff Houston's asking price if it it was deemed to be too high and instead turn their attention to reeling in Ciara's husband.
Cue to Texans GM, NIck Caserio, punching the air.
Wilson's trade request was exactly what the Bears needed this offseason in order to lessen the difficulty of finally finding their answer under center and successfully altering the trajectory of their franchise. And, assuming the Texans do eventually agree to trade Watson as logic would dictate, the Bears already appear to be repositioning their chess pieces so when the time comes, they're ready to pounce.
At the beginning of March, the team began clearing cap space by cutting veteran cornerback Buster Skrine. One day ago, they parted ways with OT, Bobbie Massie, saving $5.4 million dollars. To the naked eye, it appears as if GM Ryan Pace is creating room to accommodate a contract as large as those given to Watson and Wilson. At least, one can only hope.
Ultimately, despite Wilson’s brilliance, the optimal choice is Watson simply because of age (Watson is 25, Wilson is 32) and the ability to produce at an elite level for a longer period of time. Either individual, before they threw their first pass, would be the best quarterback to ever play for the Bears and I’d be absolutely delighted if the team landed Wilson. But, Watson represents star power at the most important position in sports for at least another ten years.
Pace needs to satisfy the collective craving for cereal amongst the Bears fanbase and the conditions are such that it needs to happen now. Flirt with Frosted Flakes while ultimately having eyes for Cheerios.
And just like that, I’m hungry.