The Chicago Bears are sure to be in the market for a veteran signal caller in the coming weeks, and the level of said signal caller will let us know how they feel about current starter Mitchell Trubisky.
If they go the after a Case Keenum or Matt Moore type of quarterback, then they still clearly believe that they can win with Trubisky, but if they drop some serious cash at the position or trade a draft pick, then they feel they need a better option for 2020.
One of the “better” options on the market is Jameis Winston, who has started 70 games the last five years for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and who just ended his 2019 season as the league leader in passing yards, attempts, and... interceptions.
He’s always been a guy that turned the ball over too much, but his 30 interceptions last season was 12 more than his previous high in picks, so perhaps that had a little something to do with the new Bruce Arians offense he had in 2019 that also led to a career high 47 sacks. I’m not saying the turnovers can be blamed on the scheme, but I’m not saying it’s not a part of it either.
Pro Football Focus recently picked one free agent that each team should pursue, and Winston was their pick for the Bears.
Here’s what they had to say:
Yes, that’s right — the Chicago Bears most certainly should ride the Jameis-coaster in 2020. Mitchell Trubisky has played consistently poor in his three-year NFL career, posting PFF grades in the mid-to-low 60.0s each season.
Jameis has been arguably the most volatile quarterback PFF has ever seen, but he has still been better than Trubisky. Winston’s average WAR these past three seasons was among the 15 best quarterbacks in the NFL. Trubisky, on the other hand, was among the six worst. Since Winston came into the league in 2015, he ranks first in positively graded play rate and has posted the second worst negatively graded play rate at the same time. Trubisky has struggled to generate any positive plays and is in Winston’s realm as far as negatively graded play rate. Winston’s decision making absolutely needs some work, but at his best, he is “ballin.’” Chicago isn’t in the position to grab a high quarterback prospect in the draft. They could get themselves Jalen Hurts in the second round, but that’s the best they’ll do. A one-year trial is the best option for the Bears, so buckle up and get ready for the ride Chicago — what’s the worst that could happen?
First off, is the best Winston can hope for is a one-year contract? Spotrac has a market value on his pending free agency at a 4 year deal worth $107,185,168 (average salary: $26,796,292), which would place him as the 10th highest paid player in the NFL.
I can’t imagine Winston signing a one year prove it deal after leading the league with 5,109 passing yards and 33 TD passes, but the market will shake out once the top free agent quarterbacks make a decision. The turnovers are an issue, but he’s also been on some bad teams in his career, so there’s likely going to be some team that believes they can rein in his recklessness with the ball.
Could that be the Bears and head coach Matt Nagy?
I don’t think it is, nor would I be excited to see Jameis in Chicago.
If you assume that 2019 was an interception aberration for Winston, his interception percentage from his first 4 years in the league was still 3.0%, which is in the same ballpark as another big armed quarterback that used to play in Chicago, Jay Cutler (3.3%).
I’d rather the Bears go after someone that is safer with the football and try to get him to be more aggressive, than to go with a reckless QB and try to get him to play smarter.
Then again, he is only 26-years old and he can make some fantastic throws, so why can’t Winston be a player that “gets it” on his second NFL team?
If the Bears exhausted all their options for a veteran quarterback and had to settle for Winston on a one year deal, then sure, I’d be fine with adding him to the QB room, but there’s no way I’m giving him a hundred-million dollar long-term contract.
What would you guys think about Winston donning the Navy and Orange in 2020?