About five years ago I was on the boardwalk at Point Pleasant Beach, NJ and noticed they had a game where you had to chip golf balls into a hole for big prizes. One of those prizes was a throwback Walter Payton jersey. Authentic. I remember thinking, “I’m a damn good chipper of the golf ball. I can get three of these in and win that jersey for about ten bucks.” Thirty bucks later, no jersey. (No golf balls in the hole either.)
So I walked over to the candy wheel at Jenkinson’s Pavillion, threw a few bucks down on my usuals: blue 2, white pop, Bob both ways. I won on the first spin and took home a box of red Swedish Fish.
In many ways, this is what the Bears just did at the quarterback position. They tried to get the Payton jersey. They took a financial risk on promising ability. But they ended up wasting time, wasting money, and settling on a reliable candy experience.
Nick Foles isn’t a sexy choice to be quarterback of the Chicago Bears. He isn’t going to sell tickets or jerseys. He isn’t going to be the focal point of the 2020 marketing campaign, or a promotional weapon for the television partners. Foles’ arrival in Chicago does not increase the chances – thank sweet Jesus – of the team appearing more prominently on primetime television over the coming season.
What Foles does is stabilize things. He calms the waters. The Bears looked at their 2019 and determined the quarterback was costing them games. They went and found someone who wouldn’t.
So why Nick Foles? There are a lot of reasons.
- The other options didn’t particularly interest the Bears, outside of Andy Dalton. (Nobody in the league trusts Cam Newton’s health.) The issue the Bears had with the Dalton were both the Cincinnati asking price (a second rounder) and Dalton’s financial requirements. Is there really a talent/production difference between Foles and Dalton? The Bears didn’t think so.
- As Data pointed out yesterday, and Patrick Finley has suggested in the Sun-Times, the Covid-19 pandemic played a role here.
- What if there is no off-season program? Wouldn’t having a veteran QB who knows the offense be a tremendous asset?
- What if the regular season is cut down from 16 to 12 or even 8 games? Could the Bears afford to let Trubisky bury them for a month and throw the entire campaign away?
- What if there is no 2020 season? The Bears would now have the ability to draft a QB in April and let an experienced veteran, comfortable in the system, mentor him.
- Look at the free agency moves made by Ryan Pace. Jimmy Graham, Robert Quinn, Nick Foles. These are sturdy veterans who have been signed to win now. These are not long-term solutions. There is no long-term for this current Bears regime. They know they’ve built a roster capable of competing for a championship and these moves are geared in that direction.
No one, not even the organization itself, will argue Nick Foles is the future of the Chicago Bears. But the Bears now have a quarterback they trust to execute the offense in 2020. They did not have that in 2019.