There are still three more games — then possibly the playoffs — left this year for Mitchell Trubisky to rewrite his story as quarterback of the Chicago Bears.
It looked bleak when the Bears decided against picking up his fifth year option. Then it took another turn when the Bears traded a 4th-round pick for Nick Foles, then it really nosedived when Mitch was benched week three after an ill-advised interception.
But then an injury (and some struggles) to Foles got Trubisky back in the saddle and he’s looked a bit better. Sure the Bears are only 1-2 in his latest three starts, but Trubisky has shown a decent command of the offense he’s running with Bill Lazor calling plays.
Will it be enough to get the Bears to re-sign him?
The majority of our SB Nation Reacts voters seem to think so.
I’ve maintained all along that the best thing for the franchise would be for Mitch to become The Man, but through 4 years he hasn’t played with enough consistency. If I have to guess on what the Bears will do right now, I still think they let Trubisky walk, but I reserve the right to revisit that opinion after the 2020 season.
My best guess right now is that Foles will open as the #1 QB in 2021, with a rookie as his backup.
For those of you that aren’t members of our Reacts group (Sign up here to join!) here’s your chance to vote on this question.
Who will be the starting QB for the Bears next season?
This poll is closed
A veteran addition
A drafted player
I asked a few of our staffers to weigh in on the question of who will be the starting QB for the Bears in 2021 and here’s what they had to say.
Jack R Salo:
I would be very surprised if Trubisky is still in Chicago next season, let alone starting at quarterback for the Bears. I think there’s a great deal of recency bias when it comes to reactions to Biscuit’s performance; when if you look at his entire body of work, it’s clear that the Bears made the correct decision in declining his 5th year option.
It would take some serious acrobatics for this team to get out of paying Nick Foles for the 2021 season, so adding another veteran doesn’t make much sense. I can’t stress this enough - teams almost never let good quarterbacks go. Dak Prescott is an anomaly, looking down the list at upcoming free agent quarterbacks, there isn’t a single one who would elevate the Bears abysmal offense. Put it this way: after Prescott, the best upcoming free agent at quarterback is probably Mitch Trubisky.
The Bears absolutely have to take their shot at a quarterback in this upcoming draft. That should be the highest-priority goal for Ryan Pace, or if you’re in a different camp, then it should be the day-one goal for the incoming GM. Figure out the quarterback situation and then build the offense around him. Nick Foles can bridge the gap while the rookie takes baby steps, similar to Glennon and Trubisky in 2017, although hopefully with much different results.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter:
I certainly appreciate how Mitchell Trubisky has responded following his benching. He’s taken his job back, while Nick Foles is reminded why he has lost his starting job multiple times in his career. Not just out of injury, but because he’s been outplayed by Trubisky, Minshew, etc...
That being said, I would be shocked if Mitchell Trubisky returns to Chicago in 2021. I’ll be somewhat surprised if Nick Foles is still in a Bears uniform as well, especially if the Bears elect to retain Matt Nagy.
Every press conference post-benching for Trubisky has given off the vibe that he’s already planning ahead. And it’s not his fault. Typically, when a QB gets benched, that player isn’t coming back the following year. Now, we’ve got a player who was benched for poor play, then re-inserted into the lineup when his replacement wound up being even worse. The trust and relationship between the two in Nagy and Trubisky has been destroyed. It’s evident when Trubisky confidently shoots off his recommendations to fix the Bears’ offense during his last few pressers. Again, I give credit and respect to Trubisky for that. It’s a message, to me, that he’s essentially done with Matt Nagy once the season is over.
Plus, the Chicago Bears really need to learn their freakin’ lessons at QB. Stop holding onto inconsistent players for so long, while assuming they’ll pan out. This dates back to over 40 YEARS of inconsistent QB play. We haven’t seen a starter finish a full 16 game season since 2009 (Jay Cutler). We’ve averaged at least one different starting QB per year since Bill Wade left the franchise in 1966. it’s not just scouting, coaching, or the lack of development around the QB. It’s all those things.
The Bears have an opportunity to clean the slate at QB, GM, and possibly HC. Everybody needs a clean breakup from each other. I feel for Mitchell Trubisky’s professional development, he needs to sit and be a backup in a laid-back situation. One that is familiar with consistent success at QB. Meanwhile, if Matt Nagy stays, he needs to find out who his playcaller will be moving forward. Once that’s figured, the opportunity for a fresh start at QB can be realized. Personally, a complete sweep of everyone at Halas Hall, along with a new QB you can believe in, is the best overall route.
It’s highly likely that Ryan Pace is out, anyway. Generally speaking, when a new GM enters a franchise, so too will a new QB. Barring anything magical happens to conclude the 2020-2021 NFL season, I do not expect to see Mitchell Trubisky returning. I, instead, brace myself for what will be the latest edition of “The Incredible Race: QB Edition” for the Chicago Bears. All while hoping Mitchell Trubisky finds himself in a positive situation moving forward. He’s a guy you just want to cheer on for success.
Without knowing who the 2021 Bears Team President, General Manager and Head Coach will be for sure at this time, it’s absolutely impossible to accurately speculate who the 2021 Bears starting quarterback will be.
SO, of course, I will go ahead since I’m an old hand at inaccurate wild-ass guessing!
The starting quarterback of the 2021 Chicago Bears will be... *drumroll please*... Cam Newton...
Why? Because Chicago’s new GM is going to draft offensive line early, meaning no high-pick rookie QB will be available. Dak is not leaving Dallas, and the only other “higher end” QB that will be available is Philip Rivers, who is likely going to retire or if not will be back in Indy. Improve the line, let Newton lead a run-based offense and get through 2021 onto the much greener financial pastures of 2022.
Will Robinson II:
Man, this is such a tough question. We don’t know what the Coaching Staff or Front Office is going to look like yet. Maybe Pace, Nagy and co. stay on for 2021, maybe the Bears clean house. Maybe one stays, and the other goes. Maybe the team goes full rebuild, maybe they continue to build on the talent already here. There’s so many variables we just don’t know yet, but screw it. Let’s start making some guesses! Here’s 4 of the most likely scenarios off the top of my head:
1. Pace and Nagy stay (continue to build) – In this case, I can see them trying to take one last swing at a QB in the draft. Maybe Trey Lance if he’s still around in the 1st, or Mac Jones in the 2nd. In this case, my bet would be that Foles gets first crack at the starting gig, maybe with a mid-tier FA vet like Jameis Winston brought in to compete. That said, I wouldn’t be shocked if they signed Trubisky to a 1 year deal (if he continues to play well the final few games), and let he and Foles continue to run 1-2 while they develop the rookie.
2. New GM, Nagy stays (continue to build) – With a new GM in place, and the top Qbs likely to be off the board when the Bears pick, I’d bet they forgo QB early, and wait for 2022. In this circumstance, I could see them bringing in a higher end vet FA QB to hold down the spot in 2021. Say, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Foles, unless traded, would serve as the backup, with maybe a mid-round rookie thrown in the mix as well. The season would be used for the GM to evaluate Nagy for 2022, and decide if a new staff needs to be brought in before they go after a QB high in the draft.
3. New GM, New Coach (rebuild) – With both a new GM and a new Head Coach, a full on rebuild is the more likely scenario (though not a foregone conclusion by any means). In this case, again, I doubt they go for a QB early in 2021. Instead, expect them to start selling pieces off, clearing cap and collecting draft picks for 2022, and roll with a team that isn’t likely to have a good record, but sets them up well for the draft. Foles likely stays, with another vet brought in to compete for the starting gig, say, Tyrod Taylor or Andy Dalton.
4. New GM, New Coach (partial rebuild) – If a full rebuild isn’t deemed necessary, and with the top Qbs likely off the board for the Bears in the draft, I could see a new regime going after a top end QB either through Free Agency or Trade. The most likely candidates being Dak Prescott and Derek Carr. Of course, with Carr being owed $22 million next year, and Dak likely requiring close to $30 million, they’d need to shed some big names to make this work. Along with the obvious cuts/walks, Hicks and Robinson would need to go, and you’d probably have to swing a trade for Fuller as well to have a chance. Though, with a solid base of young talented players remaining to build on, and the most important position in sports seemingly sorted, there are worse positions an NFL team could be in.
The Bears are going to trim off the fat of defenders that aren’t core pieces (you can decide who that describes) in cap casualties, give Rayne Dakota Prescott a blank check when he hits free agency, and draft a left tackle in the first round to be his personal bodyguard.
Presuming Pace is retained after an 8-8 season, or thereabouts, I think one of three things happens. First, they might re-sign Trubisky as if he is actually a franchise quarterback, further setting this team back. This scenario might include letting go of Matt Nagy. Second, they might trade for a used-goods quarterback who hits the market. Sam Darnold is an option with the Jets likely targeting Trevor Lawrence. I could also see Pace going after Gardiner Minshew or whichever quarterback the Raiders want to part ways with. Nothing says Ryan Pace like dealing away draft capital for someone else’s used goods. Third, Pace bids against himself for a free agent quarterback like Andy Dalton or Tyrod Taylor.
Of those, it feels like the worst available judgment is trading away too much draft capital for the right to sign Sam Darnold to an oversized contract. Let’s go with that. If Pace is shown the door, then it will be the best quarterback available around the middle of the first round.
Now it’s your turn, vote in the poll and let us know your specific thoughts in the comment section.