So Carson Wentz has been traded to the Indianapolis Colts and reports are that the Bears never made an offer. Maybe that’s because Wentz made it clear through his agent and the media that he didn’t want to play for the Bears. Maybe the Bears did their homework on Wentz and weren’t interested (or not interested for the cost). Maybe some combination of everything. Regardless, where do the Bears go now to try to solidify the most important position in sports?
This is a team who’s window for contention is closing fast. Without a good QB this team will never be more than what they’ve been the last couple of seasons: a .500-ish team that hopes to squeeze into the bottom of the playoffs. There seems to be a few options, but none that seem to be ideal on the surface. First option is to go with Nick Foles as the starter next year. I don’t know how realistic this option is after he had an injury plagued and ineffective season in 2020. I would consider Foles to be a last-resort option.
Another option is to sign/trade for a veteran starter. This would be the most appealing option for an administration that likely doesn’t have the time to wait out another rookie or non-established starter. Here is a list of veterans that are, or may potentially be, available before next season (I’m leaving DeShaun Watson, Dak Prescott and Derek Carr off this list because of questions about just how "available" they really are):
A pretty uninspiring group. Garoppolo has achieved but at the same time has caused many to wonder if he is capable of being a high end NFL starter. Minshew has achieved the least but is also on a cheap rookie contract, which could help the Bears and their bad salary cap situation. Winston has upside but one has to wonder why Sean Peyton went with a hybrid player (Taysom Hill) instead of Winston as his starter when Drew Brees was injured last year. Finally Darnold, while still touted, has struggled on bad Jets teams. He would be an upside play and might be more attractive than anyone else on the list, depending on the return. But a 1st round pick seems like too much for him at this point.
Another option is draft a QB in April. With the 20th pick in round 1, the only QB with a 1st round grade that could be available is Mac Jones from Alabama. Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance are all projected to be off the board when the Bears pick comes around. Jones seems to be a pretty uninspiring prospect for many people due to his lack of top flight athleticism; but he did have an impressive week at the Senior Bowl and did have an incredible season leading Bama to the national championship. They could reach for or trade down for a different player like Kyle Trask from Florida, Davis Mills from Stanford or Jamie Newman of Wake Forest/Georgia but none of them are projected to be day-one starter types
The next option is to trade up to take one of the top QBs. According to the draft pick value chart used by www.Drafttek.com the 20th pick has a value of 850. In order to get into the top part of the first round and ensure a shot at one of the top QBs, the Bears could target teams like Cincinnati with the 5th pick through the Giants at 11 if Fields or Lance is still on the board. Cincinnati’s pick has a value of 1700 and the Giants 11th pick is valued at 1250. The Bears 1st round and 3rd round picks this year along with 2022 1st rounder might be a good enough value match to get a deal done but again, all of these guys are far from a sure thing.
One of the final options would be to explore an extension for Mitch Trubisky. This would surely divide Bears fans and likely wouldn’t get them any closer to an extended run through the playoffs.
This off season is an extremely important one for the Bears as they attempt to find an answer for the QB equation that they themselves created. Not to mention trying to figure out how to keep their best player on offense (Allen Robinson) and deal with a dire salary cap situation (estimated to be more than $2.5 million over the cap according to www.overthecap.com). There are no easy answers and it’s conceivable that the Bears start 2021 with a worse looking QB room than they had in 2020. Strap in, it promises to be a wild and possibly very unsatisfying ride!