Good morning twitter.
Choosing to be positive isn’t really a choice. pic.twitter.com/T8axqFfplY
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) March 21, 2021
OKyle Fuller is a cap casualty as the Bears release the All-Pro cornerback
— Bears Talk (@NBCSBears) March 18, 2021
This is one of the more bizarre off-seasons in Bears history.
It began with a year-end presser that sent Chicago sports radio into a tizzy and made the word “collaboration” a punchline. (The reaction to this presser was quintessential Chicago media. I’ve never heard so much unwarranted weeping into handkerchiefs.)
It then became about two star quarterbacks on the market: Deshaun Watson and Russell Willson. The excitement around the former has been muted by his evil organization’s reluctance to answer their landlines and the lawsuits now developing around the quarterback. (If you don’t think Watson’s legal troubles originate inside the Texans, you’re not paying attention. These are bad people.)
The excitement around the latter came to a crashing halt on Tuesday, with the Seahawks balking at a deal that had been negotiated for weeks and Andy Dalton signing in Chicago.
But is the Wilson deal dead? Adam Schefter sure doesn’t think so and any conversation about how the Bears need to approach quarterback between now and opening day starts with that question.
“I don’t think it’s done, no. I don’t think I’m ready to say Russell Wilson is a Seahawk, will be a Seahawk.”pic.twitter.com/cI3r6vUCK3
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 17, 2021
Until the Seahawks and Wilson make a public commitment to each other and the 2021 season, such a commitment does not exist. What we know:
The Bears should keep calling, and keep increasing their offer, until that commitment is made or until the weekend of the draft. At the same time, the team should not lose sight of Watson.
Andy Dalton isn’t any good.
He’s pitched a quarterback rating over 90 twice is his entire NFL career.
He doesn’t throw enough touchdown passes. He throws too many interceptions.
He’s a more-than-capable backup in the league and probably could fill a role like that for years to come. But the Bears are giving him $10 million. (And they hope more!) That’s not what you pay a backup. That’s what you pay a quarterback you’ve identified as your starter of choice.
Ryan Pace and the club made a valiant attempt to acquire Russell Wilson, offering what Ian Rapoport referred to as “a lot” for one of the game’s best players. As someone close to the organization said to me, “Pace and the Seahawks were speaking almost daily for a month.” In the end Seattle decided they were not ready to rebuild. Pete Carroll decided not to relinquish his most lethal weapon because, quite frankly, he’s getting too old for this shit.
So the Bears, with an old white statue of a quarterback currently on the roster at double-digit millions, decided to add another. One has to assume Nick Foles will not be on this roster come September but based on how this leadership has handled the quarterback position, how can one assume anything?
Instead all attention will now turn the draft next month where the GM who has done nothing but get the quarterback spot wrong will get another opportunity.
Oh, and say the Bears trade up for Trey Lance. Does anyone think Lance is gonna play a down as a rookie? What would this mean for Pace/Nagy? Would they still have pressure to win in 2021 after being responsible for choosing for the QB for 2022 and beyond?
This is a bleak moment for the franchise.
Angela’s Ashes bleak.
Never have the Bears faithful on social media seemed so unanimously convinced the coming season was hopeless. The organization’s fatal flaw in 2019 and 2020 was the quarterback position. Today, it’s impossible to argue they’ve improved it.
Seattle might not be ready to trade Russell Wilson today, this week or even this month. But that does not mean he will not become available and the Bears need to be ready to pounce when that time comes.
The same is true for Deshaun Watson.
Houston and Seattle really don’t want to trade their franchise quarterbacks, because no team really wants to make such a move. However, they ultimately might have to and the best chance the Bears have at getting a franchise quarterback is still through those two guys. Keep in mind, Jay Cutler wasn’t traded until April 2 because that’s how long it took to convince Denver they had to move him.
This might seem a rather scary proposition, but it also might be the club’s best option.
Imagine a world in which the Bears could keep all of their 2021 draft picks and still add either Watson or Wilson. That is looking more possible each day as other teams in the market for QBs look to make permanent moves in the draft. With that, they risk entering the 2021 season with Nick Foles as the starter, if Houston and Seattle remain stubborn.
That really isn’t the worst thing. Foles looked horrendous at times last year, but at least some of that was because they couldn’t protect him. Even Patrick Mahomes needs protection. The one game they had Sam Mustipher at center and Foles at quarterback, they scored 23 points, despite a right side consisting of Rashad Coward and Jason Spriggs. That won’t happen again in 2021 as the Bears figure to spend an early pick, assuming they have one, on a tackle.
Foles doesn’t have to be the only option.
Jacoby Brissett is capable, will likely be cheap and would surely be an upgrade over what Mitch Trubisky has been for much of his career. Or they could take a flier on a player like Tim Boyle, who has been impressing people in Green Bay for years. Boyle has won competitions against Brett Hundley, Deshone Kizer and Jordan Love the last three years and has actually been impressive, with a passer rating better than 100 in the preseason, though that context is needed. He could be another Matt Flynn or Craig Nall, but he could also be another Matt Hasselbeck.
Franks isn’t a player who expects his name to be called on Thursday or Friday but the tools are worth chancing in the later rounds, especially for a team with a deep and stable quarterbacks room. (The Bears do not currently possess this.) As Charlie Campbell at Walter Football points out, “Franks has a big arm, good size and can occasionally make a beautiful pass.” That should be enough to put him on an NFL roster in 2021.
This is from a scouting report at SI, attributed to The NFL Draft Bible:
An athletic quarterback who moves around the pocket well, Newman can move the chains with his legs when the play breaks down. Newman is tough and can take hits. He has enough arm strength to toss it anywhere on the field, but he won’t overwhelm anyone with his arm. His best accuracy tends to come in the short-to-intermediate range of the field. However, Newman does demonstrate excellent patience in the pocket and he is rarely flustered. He must do a better job of reading the field and not stare down his main option, which often results in turnovers and missed opportunities. Experience is not on his side, as he only has one full season under his belt as a college starter. He is sure to be a project and his upside is as great as any quarterback in the draft, but there is some unknown to him. After transferring from Wake Forest to Georgia, Newman decided to opt out of the 2020 season, without ever taking a snap for the Bulldogs, leading some in the scouting community to question whether he struggled to pick up the playbook during his transition. With an impressive combination of arm strength, size and athleticism, Newman projects as a mid-round gamble who could pay huge dividends down the road.
We discussed absolutely everything.