Jim Dabrowski

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Why I'm OK with the Mitch Trubisky Trade

Thursday night I said to my wife I thought the Bears were suddenly 5+ years away from being competitive. Another couple years of Pace & Co., they’re fired and the Bears are back to looking for a new GM, head coach and several more years of rebuilding. Trading away 3 picks to move up one spot for a quarterback that would likely have been there for them at #3 made no sense to me. After a few days to mull it over and read opinions, my feelings have changed.

It’s clear the Bears, specifically Ryan Pace, think that Trubisky can be The Guy. By that I mean they believe Trubisky has the potential to be a 10+ year starter for the Bears who will play at least as well as guys like Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, Carson Palmer and Eli Manning. A true “franchise quarterback”. Now I agree we can all debate this. Pre-draft you could take nearly every top quarterback (Kizer, Watson, Trubisky, Mahomes) and find some analyst that had each one picked as the best quarterback in the draft and find others explaining in detail why each of them will be a bust. None of that matters. What matters is that Ryan Pace and the Bears clearly made the decision Trubisky was The Guy for them and they were going to get him in the first round no matter what.

From this base, the decision to move up to the second pick makes more sense. They were sitting at three and knew they were going to draft him, the only question was whether they would have to trade up to get him. The Browns made the obvious choice at #1 and picked Myles Garrett which left the Bears wondering what was going to happen at #2. According to Adam Jahns the Bears heard from multiple sources that the 49ers were in serious talks with other teams wanting their #2 pick. Should Pace sit at #3 and hope no one jumped ahead of them and possibly take Trubisky, or should he make sure he got his guy? As Pace himself said in the post draft press conference, he wasn’t going to sit on his hands and trust to fate, he was going to do what was necessary to get the guy he wanted. I can respect that.

What about Glennon and Cutler? Why sign Glennon if the plan all along was to draft a quarterback in the first round, especially when they already had Cutler (a proven starting-caliber quarterback) under contract?

It’s easy to argue they should have kept Cutler, drafted Trubisky, let Trubisky develop until ready to start then release Cutler. The cost to the Bears for Cutler in 2017 and beyond was pretty low and the contract was such that they could cut him nearly any time and owe him nothing. But let’s face it, Cutler was a pretty polarizing figure in Chicago. Half the city hated him, half the city loved him, and that proportion shifted every Sunday depending on how many fumbles, interceptions and touchdowns he had. If the Bears kept Cutler and drafted Trubisky, there would be an immediate “quarterback controversy” that would only grow louder and louder with every injury, interception or fumble. Those are distractions the team doesn’t need. Instead, the Bears released him and got Glennon.

Why get Glennon? According to this guy, word is Pace thinks Glennon has the potential to be The Guy in Chicago as well. Now again, we can all question this, but our opinion doesn’t matter, only Ryan Pace’s opinion matters. If he thinks Glennon has the potential to be The Guy you go get him but sign him to a team-friendly deal. His pay for 2017 is reasonable given his history and they can cut him any time after this season with not much dead money.

So where does that leave the Bears? In pretty good position in my opinion. There are four ways this can play out, three of which are net positives for the Bears. Glennon can turn out to be a genuine, starting-caliber NFL quarterback. If he does, the Bears play him all of 2017 and let Trubisky develop. If it’s looking like Trubisky is The Guy as they expect, we could see a real quarterback competition in training camp in 2018 or the Bears can trade Glennon away and get something for him. If Trubisky takes longer to develop or is looking like he will not be The Guy, they keep Glennon as their starter and begin to look for The Next Guy. Let’s say Glennon turns out to be the mediocre-to-bad quarterback many think he is. Mid-way through 2017 we see Trubisky become the starter and we’ll get to see if he is The Guy Pace thinks he can be. Only in the case where both Glennon and Trubisky turn out be busts do we see the Bears with another top ten (or maybe top 5) pick in the 2018 draft, possibly with a new head coach or even a new GM.

Like I said at the start, my initial reactions Thursday night were WTF and SMH. After a few days and a few deep breaths, I am beginning to be more optimistic. Only time will tell if Pace is right. Until then I’m going to remain hopeful and continue to cheer on the Chicago Bears.