There’s no question that the Chicago Bears went “all-in” on Mitchell Trubisky in 2018 following a rather strange beginning (the Year Of Mike Glennon and FoxBall) to his career.
In a very controversial move (especially at the time) Bears General Manager Ryan Pace traded up in the draft to take the his guy, Trubisky, as the first overall quarterback to come off the board in 2017.
Pace had determined that Trubisky was the franchise quarterback that the Chicago Bears needed. As we Bears fans are all too aware of, the Windy City hasn’t had a true franchise quarterback since Hall Of Famer Sid Luckman led the Monsters of the Midway to NFL championships in 1940, 1941, 1943, and 1946.
I don’t care how you count it, from 1946 to 2019 is a LONG time for a team to go without a franchise quarterback.
In this WCG Roundtable, our staff members have collaborated to answer three basic questions about Mitchell Trubisky and the franchise QB position.
First, we asked what each person thinks the phrase “franchise quarterback” really means. Secondly, we look at whether we think Trubisky is a franchise QB right now. Lastly, we ask each person to look forward and project what Trubisky’s ceiling might be.
Let’s get to the answers.
What does the term “franchise quarterback” mean to you... i.e. what traits are required for a player to be considered a true franchise QB.
To me, a Franchise QB is simply a guy who’s good enough to hold down the position for the foreseeable future. Someone who doesn’t need to be replaced for the team to be competitive. Anything at that level or above, is a Franchise Guy.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.
In my opinion, a franchise QB just means that the franchise has bought in on the player and he’s their guy moving forward. It doesn’t mean he’s an “elite” talent, because there are only a handful of those guys playing at any given time. These days average quarterbacks sign $100 million deals, so that franchise deemed them worthy to be their franchise QB.
I think a franchise quarterback needs to be a player that can anchor a franchise. It’s not enough that the player be a capable starter. Someone who is the 15th- to 25th-best quarterback in the league is not a franchise quarterback. If having the quarterback actually makes everything else easier for the team, then the player is a franchise quarterback.
For me, the term “franchise quarterback” means far more than just a starting caliber quarterback that is able to put up good numbers statistically. He is someone that has the proven capability to carry a team when they need high-level play from their quarterback. It means being the leader in and out of the huddle for the entire team. It means to inspire everyone else to play at their highest level. That doesn’t mean they have to put up flashy numbers; moreover, be a player that is capable of stepping up their performance when called upon.
A franchise quarterback is a quarterback that’s good enough to remain your quarterback for 5+ years. Practically speaking, it’s a quarterback worth paying 25+ million/year to. In terms of ability they should be a little bit better than “you could theoretically maybe luck your way into a Super Bowl with them” but don’t need to be “elite”, per se. A lot of teams force the “franchise” title on their quarterback (Bortles, Winston, Tannehill) but the true franchise QBs are the ones who make that money worthwhile.
I think it’s a QB that a team is willing to build around and not be looking to replace. It’s basically any of those top 12-15 QBs. If you have the guy that’s 15th or 16th (think Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins), their teams were/are always kind of keeping one eye to replacing them.
I think that to be a franchise quarterback you have to have to things going. First, a team has to commit to building around you. That’s a prerequisite. The second part of the equation is that you have to have a floor that places you firmly at least in the middle third of the NFL’s rankings... A bottom tier guy, year upon year, isn’t a franchise guy. A one-year flash-in-the-pan quarterback isn’t a franchise guy either. It’s the long term committment accompanied by at least a moderate amount of success that determines whether a QB is a “franchise” player.
Is Mitchell Trubisky a franchise quarterback right now?
Right now? I’d probably lean toward yes, but it’s always tough to tell with young quarterbacks. You never really know what they are going to be until they have a few years under their belt. Time will tell with Mitch.
Lester Wiltfong, Jr.
With young QBs, the jury will be out until their contract is up, but I think the Bears are comfortable with Trubisky moving forward as their “guy.” Things could obviously change between now and their decision to give him some new paper, but for now it’s full steam ahead on this as Trubisky’s offense.
No. I think he is headed in that direction, and I think that the Bears can work with him (which is good, because they are sort of stuck with him), but Trubisky right now is quarterback purgatory. He is good enough to win some games and to be worth developing, but he is not so good that he is going to provide true added value to a franchise. He’s not bad, and he could be better. Unless he moves into the top ten or top twelve in the next year, though, then team is just going to end up spinning its wheels.
Almost. He’s getting very close to that distinction. The Bears are all-in on Mitchell Trubisky, and now, Trubisky has to continue refining his game. We saw just how much he’s grown from last year to this latest season in the final quarter of the playoff loss to the Eagles. He’s making big-time plays in critical moments to lead his team to victory. Now, he just needs to make those types of plays more consistently.
The Bears sure think he is! Based on the moves that Ryan Pace made this offseason, Mitch is the Bears’ franchise QB for better or for worse. As to whether he’s a true franchise QB or not, I think he’s almost there. If he can grow out of some of his more immature habits (like his nervousness in the red zone leading to INTs in the end zone) I think he really can become one. His final drives against GB 2.0 and Philly say a lot about who he is, that he’s someone you can trust with the ball when you need a play. It’ll be when he becomes a consistent enough player to throw for 4,000 yards in a season that we’ll know he’s truly a franchise quarterback.
Right now? No. I think he is on his way there, but we haven’t seen the consistency to earn a huge second contract, so for that reason I say no. I agree with the others that if he continues on the path he’s on and gets more consistent, that he will definitely be one, as soon as the end of next season.
Not yet, but I fully expect him to be by the end of 2019. The first part of my theory of what it takes to be a franchise QB... the team committing to him... is certainly in place. He had a solid year in 2018, and I honestly can’t see how he will regress in 2019, but for me to say he’s established himself as at least a second-tier QB? Not yet. He’s close though. Very close.
I think by now it’s safe to say we have seen Mitch’s floor, what do you project Mitch’s ceiling to be?
With his arm talent, pocket feel and mobility, I think the sky’s the limit in terms of his ceiling. If he continues to work on his mechanics, continues to get better at reading defenses, and continues to improve his decision making process, he can be one of the league’s best. He’s got the tools, and flashed the potential, it’s just a question of whether he puts it all together.
Lester Wiltfong, Jr.
In my recent article, What should we expect from Trubisky is his second year of the Nagy offense, I looked at the numbers from several quarterbacks in the second year of “Andy Reid-like” systems, but based off of how Trubisky looked in 2018, I’m confident that he’ll play well enough to earn a big contract to stay in Chicago. I don’t think he’ll ever be mentioned in the same vein as the truly elite generational talents, but he’ll be a damn good football player.
I think his ceiling is “bottom-tier” franchise quarterback. I think he can end up being #8 to #12 in the league if everything works out okay. However, when I look around the league, I don’t see him ever being one of the top five or six.
He’s a Super Bowl caliber QB. Not simply a Pro Bowler or All-Pro quarterback; those are all dandy and everything, but the Super Bowl trumps them all. I’ll dare say he’s got the highest ceiling of any QB in the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger. Kirk Cousins falters in big moments. And Matthew Stafford is, well, Matthew Stafford. And for people wondering, “when will he make everyone around him better,” that’s the worst mindset to have when building around any quarterback. Continue adding weapons around him, allow him to build more chemistry with his receivers, and watch him ascend. There’s no reason to believe he won’t set every Bears franchise record for passing by the time he retires.
”Ceilings” are weird, and Mitch Trubisky is a great example of why. If he consistently put all his tools together (plus mobility, plus accuracy (sometimes), plus pocket sense, decent reads, plus release), he could legitimately become one of the NFL’s best. The problem with him is that I think there’ll always be something holding him back. You’ll never know what it is (some weeks his footwork will be off, other weeks he’ll misread three coverages for INTs), but it’ll always be something. With that in mind, I think his true ceiling is Phillip Rivers. A competitive QB who, when on his game, is right up there with the elites.
Hear me out here, because I am going to say a name and I can see a lot of fans and Mitch haters alike scrolling down to roast me in the comments, but I see a lot of Russell Wilson in him. Wilson was kind of above-average for his first couple years as he adjusted to the league and rode an amazing defense and now he’s considered one of the better QBs in the league. I see a lot of Wilson’s game (accuracy, ability to scramble, make plays when it looks like none are there, cool under pressure) in Mitch’s game and I think with more consistency that can be his ceiling.
His ceiling is a top tier quarterback. He’s no ever going to be Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but then again, we’ve only had a handful of those guys in the history of the game. I think Mitchell’s going to eventually slot into the middle-half of the top 10 of the NFL QB ladder, probably somewhere in the 7th position. With the coaching staff we have, with the other talent we have, that’s more than good enough to start bring home Lombardi trophies to Chicago.
So what do you all think? You know the three questions, give us your answers. Spill the beans, WCG!