The Chicago Bears are in no rush to pick up, or to even declare their intent in regards to Mitchell Trubisky’s fifth-year option on his contract. The deadline to do so is May 30, which gives the coaching staff, scouts, and general manager Ryan Pace plenty of time to weigh their options.
After 41 regular season starts and 1 playoff start, the Bears just aren’t ready to announce any type of long term commitment to the player they moved up to take second overall in 2017. Perhaps they want to pour over those 42 games again to double check what they already think, or maybe they have their minds made up but intend to wait and see what other opportunities present themselves.
And what other opportunities might present themselves...
The 2020 league year begins on March 18
With only one QB under contract, Trubisky, the Bears are going to add to the position. That’s a certainty. And once the NFL is open for business we’ll know more about the Bears’ overall direction of the QB room.
Free agency starts when the league year begins, but we could hear some rumors, or even deals agreed to, during the early negotiating window that starts on March 16. Once the top quarterback dominoes fall (Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Teddy Bridgewater), we’ll get some clarification with guys like Case Keenum, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, and Ryan Tannehill.
Trades are also permitted when the NFL opens for business on March 18, so players like Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, or even Alex Smith, could be on the move.
And speaking of Dalton, it’s being reported that the Bears and Bengals have had initial trade talks.
Ryan Pace has already said he plans to explore other options at quarterback, so I would expect him to speak with several free agents and to have feelers out to teams regarding a potential trade.
He’s likely to have a number of plans in place depending on which QBs end up where.
At his combine press conference, head coach Matt Nagy talked about wanting legitimate competition at every position, including quarterback, and that’s a change from the previous two years. In 2018 and 2019 the Bears had Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray at QB2 and QB3 and both of those guys were around because they knew the offense inside and out and they weren’t going to threaten to take the job from QB1.
The competition in the quarterback room will be much different in 2020.
The NFL Draft is April 23-25
Getting a top QB prospect is probably out of the question with no first round pick, but there’s always a possibility a guy they really like falls to them in the second round. It’s a long-shot, but what if Utah State’s Jordan Love or Washington’s Jacob Eason fall down near the Bears’ second-round pick at 43 overall? Could Pace and his scouts have them rated high enough for him to aggressively move up to get one of them?
The Bears have met with Jake Fromm from Georgia, so maybe he’s in play too.
I think the most likely scenario for Chicago is to get a developmental prospect in as the QB3 on day three or even from the group of undrafted free agents.
Teams can ask permission to speak with contracted XFL players on April 27
This is a long shot, but there could be some interest in a few XFL quarterbacks, most notably P.J. Walker of the Houston Roughnecks and Jordan Ta’amu of the St. Louis BattleHawks.
So after all those other options come and go, then Ryan Pace will announce the Bears’ intention on the 5th-year option for Trubisky.