The question I’ve been asked most since getting to Chicago: “Do you think Trubisky will be a positive when looking for a new coach?” My answer each time has been a definitive yes because I truly believe it will.
But I decided that, instead of leaning on my gut, to poll my two pals in the league on the question, factoring in all of the potentially-available gigs and their quarterback situation. I’ve grouped the teams into categories.
(I’ll be referring to my friends as AFC GUY & NFC GUY.)
They get their own category because think of the waters GM Chris Ballard has to navigate. When he’s looking to hire a coach in January he may not be able to tell the candidates whether Andrew Luck, their franchise quarterback, will require an additional surgery sidelining him six months or more. He won’t be able to tell the candidates if they have a franchise quarterback in 2018 or not.
NFC GUY: “Chris is going to have to sell that job. And every potential coach will want to know if they’re considering drafting a quarterback early.”
Bucs / Titans
These are two jobs that, should they come open, will come open with a quarterback in-place. But…do you want them?
- Marcus Mariota has questions to answer regarding his play in 2017. Because he’s been awful. Said AFC GUY: “If he’s not hurt, he’s a problem.”
- Jameis Winston will have gotten two coaches fired in three years. His relationship with Dirk Koetter “forced” Tampa to move on Lovie Smith and his relationship with Koetter now may bring Dr. Karma over for a house call. NFC GUY: “A little toxic right now but I really like Winston and a lot of coaches do too.”
Cardinals / Giants / Jets / Broncos
These are the four jobs that may be available where there’s no quarterback of the future, or honestly the present, on the roster. You can go through each of the organizations and break down the appeal of the individual gigs but when it comes to quarterbacks, there’s nothing there currently to deter or encourage a candidate.
NFC GUY: “If you love one of these quarterbacks in the draft, you’ll want these jobs.”
AFC GUY: “One of these teams is very high on Kirk Cousins. That could be a factor.”
Lions / Raiders
AFC GUY: “If the Lions fire Caldwell, there will be coaches lined up to get their hands on Stafford. He’ll only be 30 next season. You’re getting five more years of high-level play.”
NFC GUY: “Everybody knows Carr is playing hurt this season. The league knows how talented he is.”
These two jobs are fascinating and incredibly appealing because of their established quarterbacks.
Nobody wants Andy Dalton.
AFC GUY: “Nobody. Except maybe Hue Jackson.”
Which is why the Bengals making a trade for the Browns head coach actually makes some sense if they don’t want to make wholesale changes at the position. Jackson not only likes Dalton, he also likes Dalton’s backup, A.J. McCarron, a restricted free agent this coming off-season. If the Bengals go elsewhere, they won’t be looking at a top of the line coach if that coach is told Dalton is their guy.
Bears / Texans
Here’s why these two jobs will have overwhelming appeal, especially to offensive-minded candidates: these QBs are relatively incomplete canvasses. Trubisky and Watson are both remarkably talented guys but coaches will have a chance to develop and mold them into elite NFL passers over their first few years on the job.
AFC GUY: “If you take the Texans job, you must insist on bringing in a backup that can win games should Watson miss time.”
NFC GUY: “Trubisky is raw. But his coaches are telling everybody he’s going to be elite. And those guys carry a lot of weight.”
You hear the same things about the Houston job you heard about Watson pre-draft. Some people think it’ll be the most coveted job in the league. Some people think Watson’s 2017 is a bit overrated and, I mean, he didn’t make it through the season healthy. Mike Florio said on PFT Live that Watson “makes your team a contender every single year.” Except, of course, this one.
Trubisky is a draw. The market is a draw. The top draft pick is a draw. (Houston doesn’t have a first-round selection.) The Bears are looking to hire a head coach at a moment where the job is more appealing than it ever has been.