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.
Last offseason, I looked at rookie production for recent tight ends to form realistic expectations for Cole Kmet’s rookie season. In that study, I found three statistical thresholds for a rookie season that seemed to portend good things to come:
There were 8 tight ends drafted in the 2nd round over the last 10 years who hit all three of those thresholds as rookies, and 7 of them had at least one NFL season with 500 receiving yards. Only two of the eight 2nd round picks in the same time frame – who did not hit all three thresholds – went on to have a season with 500 receiving yards. With that in mind, let’s look at how Cole Kmet did in his rookie year.
Here you can see that Kmet hit the thresholds for snaps and targets, but was really inefficient with those targets, meaning he did not hit the 6.0 yards/target threshold. This does not guarantee Kmet will be a bust, but it also puts him in company of players who mostly did not pan out as capable receiving TEs in the NFL.
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.
The Chicago Bears seem to have answers on the interior of their offensive line, thanks to a former undrafted rookie. Both Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy went out of their way last week to compliment Sam Mustipher as being a calming presence on their offensive line and essential to the improvement they showed down the stretch.
“I can’t say enough about Sam Mustipher, we’re so lucky to have him,” Ryan Pace told Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer last week. “His leadership, his intelligence, his ability to calm everybody down. It’s infectious. He’s the guy sprinting 20 yards down field, picking up the ball carrier, leading the whole group.”
In an interview with Dan Wiederer and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, Matt Nagy offered similar remarks.
“Things really got calm,” Nagy said about when Mustipher entered the lineup. “He proved to use that he is more than capable of being a starting center in the NFL. The number one thing he brings is leadership. He’s such a multiplier.”
That last line from Nagy is crucial.
We discussed absolutely everything.
My 2021 Draft QB Rankings. Taping the podcast soon with full breakdown/explanation. pic.twitter.com/dkzlcKeZEJ
— Chris Simms (@CSimmsQB) March 3, 2021
This tweet seemed to drive some folks in #DraftTwitter crazy. I have no idea why since all #DraftTwitter does is guess which players are going to be good and they are ALL wrong AT LEAST half the time. But I know I wasn’t alone when I started looking up Mond tape immediately after seeing the Tweet. Good work by Simms to mix it up.
If Mond is a first-round prospect, he’s officially part of the Bears storyline.
Our ears perked up and our minds began to wonder: Who is the quarterback the Chicago Bears are trying to get that we don’t know about?
The secret: The player doesn’t exist.
Both Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace made obvious reference to there possibly being something in the works that has not been reported in the media. The fan base and media reacted exactly as the Bears intended. The hope is that other teams – namely Seattle – would too.
The popular name circulated has been Matt Ryan, but Atlanta would have to eat $44 million in dead cap if they traded Ryan and the return certainly wouldn’t be significant enough to justify that. Once they put themselves in position to pull off that trade, the price would likely be comparable to what the Eagles got for Carson Wentz; maybe less considering Ryan’s age. They’re in an obvious position to try and win now, while building for the future. They have pieces to make Arthur Smith’s first season a success and then focus on the future. Trading Ryan for not much while eating a ton of cap space doesn’t make sense.