By Bryan Dietzler
The 2017 off-season has come and all 32 teams are now getting set for the upcoming season. Some teams have less work to do than others. Then you have teams that have a lot of rebuilding to do. The Bears are one of those teams that have a lot of work to do. After a demoralizing season, Chicago needs to get help at a lot of positions to help make this themselves a contender.
Chicago’s needs are numerous and we have talked about them before. But the one need that keeps on coming up in almost any conversation people have about the Bears is quarterback. This has been an ongoing issue with the team for years and it’s time that it got solved.
But how can the Bears fix the quarterback position? Should they fix it now in 2017 or should they wait another year? Those are lingering questions on every fan’s mind.
This writer has spent a lot time considering the different scenarios that could happen at the quarterback position this off-season. They are broken down here. What are your thoughts? Which idea is the best for the Bear at the quarterback position? What should they do to shore up this position and make it better for the future?
Here are a few possibilities.
Keep Cutler/Let Him Go-This would be an easiest thing but would it be the best? Cutler has struggled not only playing the game but staying healthy and the Bears may be ready to part ways with him. It certainly appears as if they are ready to move on so it might be safe to say he won’t be back in 2017. But how should they let him go? They need to try to get something out of him so trading him to a willing trade partner would be a great idea. Chicago may not get what they want but at least they will get something.
If they did decide to keep Cutler, then they need to draft another quarterback. Cutler can be the “bridge” quarterback until that draftee is ready to go. It’s clear to see that Cutler is not the long-term answer. The Bears either need to let him go or trade someone something for him. But he’s just not going to cut it in Chicago any longer.
Trade for Jimmy Garoppolo-If you have been keeping track of the news, it’s being reported that the Bears are interested in trying to make trade for Garoppolo. It’s been said that it’s one of their top priorities. But the asking price the Patriots have put up for him may be too high. They currently want a number one and a number four pick for him (that can always change). That is may be way too steep of a price to pay for him.
And not only is the price they have to pay for him high but he’s not a well-tested quarterback. He has limited starting experience but it being billed as a potential all-star quarterback. Some of these quarterbacks with limited staring experience have been hot commodities. But when they land starting roles with new teams, they can struggle. Brock Osweiler anyone?
But you can’t let one bad egg ruin it for everyone. Garoppolo could be the next Tom Brady.
At the right price the Bears might be able to get him but not for as much as the Patriots are asking right now. He is unproven and may fall flat. He’s too big of a risk. Chicago cannot afford to overpay for him if they decide they want him.
Trade for Tony Romo-The Bears and Tony Romo have been linked in discussions about trades ever since November. Romo is nearing the end of his career and hasn’t won a championship yet. He may want to go to a team that’s closer to getting to a Super Bowl than the Bears. But if he was open to coming to Chicago, would he be worth it?
He is an injury risk and doesn’t have much time left. If they could get him for the right price, they could use him as a bridge quarterback, drafting another player to eventually take over. But Romo would probably not want to come to Chicago. He would want to go to an immediate contender.
Consider his coming to Chicago something that won’t happen.
Acquire Tyrod Taylor-If you sat Garoppolo and Taylor together and compared them, you might consider Taylor being better. Why? He has more starts and more wins. But he might not have more upside. There is talk that the Buffalo Bills and Taylor are looking to part ways and this might make him available for the Bears this off-season. But would he be worth bringing to Chicago?
Taylor has an injury history and the Bears may shy away from him because of that. He has put up strong numbers but he hasn’t had the wins that you would expect out of a franchise quarterback. Quite honestly, the Bears could get by with one of the current guys they have and bring along a new quarterback of the future. They don’t really need Taylor. They should consider other options.
Other External Scenarios-There are a couple of other backup quarterbacks out there that are being considered around as possibilities for the Bears (to trade for). Tampa Bay’s Mike Glennon has been mentioned. He has limited starting experience but has won some games. He might be available for the right price and could be worth a look? If he can be acquired for a low price, then maybe he should get some consideration.
Fans and media are throwing out current Cincinnati Bengal’s backup A.J. McCarron’s name as well. He hasn’t had much playing experience but people seem to think he could be a future NFL star. Once again, he is another untested and untried player. Do the Bears’ take a look? If they decide he is worth a shot, they can’t give up too much to get him.
Go With What They Have-The Bears may have what they need at the quarterback position already (minus Cutler). But, if they want to retain what they already have, they need to get some contracts signed.
The Bears have Connor Shaw, Brian Hoyer, David Fales and Matt Barkley under contract for just a more few weeks. When free agency starts, these guys will be free agents. So, which of them should the Bears re-sign?
They all have some upside but Fales may be the odd man out, to whittle down the list. He was let go by the Bears to begin with and just brought back as insurance in case Barkley went out. They have the three other guys to evaluate and see who should (and could) stick. Fales is probably not in their plans.
Hoyer proved himself to be an asset but he didn’t win too many games (but he missed a few with a broken arm). He was a good game manager but may not be going to “light it up”. Hoyer may not bring the Bears up from being down in a huge hole (like Brady).
Shaw is a relative unknown who has shown a lot of promise but in exhibition games only. The Bears seem to like him. Maybe he can do some wonderful things at the quarterback position?
Barkley is an interesting prospect. He made some nice plays but ended up making many more mistakes. Should the Bears consider bringing him back? Does he have a lot of potential?
Before we decide who the Bears should keep we need to consider a longer-term solution to the Bears’ quarterback problems. What is that solution? Its drafting a quarterback. The Bears need to find a player that they can consider a “franchise” player and a long-term fix at quarterback. It’s time they developed someone on their own rather than picking up someone off another team’s bench.
If they were to get a quarterback in the first round, that player could probably start right away. But where they pick, at number three, taking a quarterback is a gamble. Instead, they may want to wait until the second or third round to find their future star. That player can sit behind a “bridge” starter for a year or two while they develop.
Quite honestly, this could be the ideal scenario.
So, back to which quarterback should be the bridge quarterback. If they decide not to get anyone in free agency, then they will have the three previously mentioned guys to choose from. Say they keep two. Which two should stay?
Shaw is a bit of an unknown. They might sign him to a contract and keep him around in training camp to see what they have. If he can’t cut it, then they need to let him walk. Hoyer might be worth keeping, he’s a solid game manager and if he can step it up, he could make a good bridge quarterback.
Barkley is a little bit of an enigma. He did well at times and at other times he looked horrible. You could say that the competition might be between him and Shaw. Whoever shows themselves to be the best quarterback in training camp could be the one that stays. But will the Bears sign Barkley and bring him into training camp?
So, it’s possible the Bears could have Hoyer as the starter, with Shaw (or an outside shot that Barkley could stick) as a backup. Then, they could have that third quarterback, a draftee, on the roster. It might be wise for the Bears to keep three quarterbacks on the active roster while a draftee develops, just in case.
The Bears’ quarterback situation is hard to predict. There are so many ways the Bears could go. What would be the best way? That would probably be using a bridge quarterback that they didn’t trade away the farm for in addition to drafting a future starter. Or they can keep what they have right now.
What do you think the Bears should do? Please share your opinion.