Yesterday we had a question at the WCG roundtable asking if we thought the Chicago Bears should have pushed out a quarterback in the 2020 NFL draft. We all agreed that when the Review of the state of the franchise in 2020 and where they were writing, taking a QB early was not the best use of their working capital.
But some of us wondered why we didn’t bother finding a guy on the third day or as an undrafted free agent.
Now I know what some of you are thinking, “The third day and the UDFA QDs will never be franchise savers!” “ And for the most part, that’s correct, but the NFL is full of quarterfinals and draft that serve as replacements. Some teams have even been able to develop these callers of unannounced signals and exchange them for draft picks, or at the very least, developed them and allowed them to sign for a shot at a compensatory scout pick.
Chicago chief executive Ryan Pace, who once said it was a good idea to build a quarterback each year, has done so only once. In fact, he only brought in two undrafted recruits during the offseason.
Unless there is an unexpected move, Chicago’s top two quarterbacks are in stone for the 2020 season, and for the time being, they are seemingly content to roll in the year with Tyler Bray, 28, as QB3. The new CBA has given an opening for Bray – a 7-year veteran – to be back on the training team, but at this point in his career, his cap has been identified.
There is no reason why the Bears should ignore the rookie shifts right now.
Here’s a list of the undrafted or late quarterbacks (5th, 6th, 7th) who served as QB1 or QB2 teams in 2019, and yes, I understand that some of these guys are not very good. This is not the point. Again, it’s not about finding a franchise quarterback, but finding a backup that could turn into something else for your franchise.
Brett Hundley, Cardinals (5th round)
Kyle Allen, Panthers (UDFA)
Chase Daniel, Bears (UDFA)
Tyler Bray, Bears (UDFA)
Garrett Gilbert, Browns (6th round)
Cooper Rush, Cowboys (UDFA)
Brandon Allen, Broncos (6th round)
David Blough, Lions (UDFA)
Tim Boyle, Packers (UDFA)
UN J. McCarron, Texans (5th round)
Brian Hoyer, Colts (UDFA)
Gardner Minshew II, Jaguars (6th round)
Matt Moore, chiefs (UDFA)
Tyrod Taylor, Chargers (6th round)
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins (7th round)
Luke Falk, Jets (6th round)
Trevor Siemian, Jets (7th round)
Tom Brady, Patriots (6th round)
Devlin Hodges, Steelers (UDFA)
Nick Mullens, 49 (UDFA)
Ryan Griffin, Buccaneers (UDFA)
Case Keenum, Redskins (UDFA)
Again, we are not talking about rocket science, we are talking about Football 101 by writing (or signing) and developing resources. It is a QB-led league, so if you don’t constantly put time and effort into this position, you’d be better off having an ELITE quarterback.
Bears don’t have that.
Look at this list of shifts above. How many of these players have been exchanged and / or allowed to walk as free agents to benefit from the competition selection formula? Why can’t Ryan Pace and the Bears sign and prepare a QB number three to benefit them the same way?
There were several UDFA shifts that the Bears could have chased after the 2020 draft ended. At the last count, 13 of them had been signed. Guys like Tyler Huntley of Utah signed with the Ravens, Anthony Gordon of Washington State finished with Seattle, Steven Montez of Colorado went to Washington, the Rams signed two QBs, Virginia Bryce Perkins and Josh Love from San Jose State, the Buccaneers signed Reid Sinnett from San Diego and the 49ers signed Broc Rutter at Naperville and North Central College.
If the franchises with Tom Brady (The GOAT QB) and Lamar Jackson (The MVP) at the helm can look for a needle in a haystack, why can’t they have one that has had quarterback problems since Sid Luckman does the same?
But who knows, maybe the Bears tried to sign an undrafted free agent and they were on the high end or their pitch was just not enough. Again, if they hadn’t wanted to compete with the other 31 teams for these players, they could easily have used one of their 7th round picks over a quarterback.
The only reason I could see the Bears stubbornly sticking to their model of not having a freshman is the COVID-19 pandemic. This has already changed the OTAs and the teams’ camps, so the Bears can be content with not having to coach a third or fourth quarter this year. With three-quarters in the fold who already know the offensive terminology, passing on a youngster until 2021 must be their plan.
This assumes that Pace has a viable QB plan.
He threw large sums of money at a quarterback – which was a smoke screen – but this guy couldn’t even make it to the fifth week. He just turned down the 5th grade option in his first draft pick, and we have to wait to see how the QB he traded for pots and pans, so it’s safe to say that for now, his record on finding a quality starter is mediocre.
In fact, its record on shifts in general is quite poor. Discover the 18 QB he signed in a certain capacity during his six dead seasons at work.
03/06 – Jimmy Clausen
05/03 – Shane Carden (UDFA)
11/05 – Pat Devlin
01/09 – Zac Dysert
09/17 – David Fales
11/24 – Justin Worley
08/12 – Matt Blanchard
02/05 – Brian Hoyer
06/09 – Dalyn Williams (UDFA)
07/01 – Connor Shaw
05/09 – Matt Barkley
11/15 – Josh Woodrum (UDFA)
03/10 – Mike Glennon
03/24 – Mark Sanchez
07/19 – Mitchell Trubisky (Draft)
03/14 – Chase Daniel
03/16 – Tyler Bray
03/31 – Nick Foles
Not a lot of excitement in this group.
Some of these players were canceled and re-signed by him, and others only made it to the lineup or the off-season training team, but there aren’t many benefits in this. group. Only four ((Glennon just signed with the Jaguars today!) of the first 14 guys Pace signed are still in the NFL.
The 15th quarter he chose has the physical skills to thrive in the league, but he will be playing on what is essentially a one-year proof agreement in 2020. If he doesn’t click for Trubisky this year, he will pilot someone else’s bench in 2021.
The 16th guy has just signed with the Lions for a $ 13.05 million contract over three years and, according to Over The Cap, Daniel’s contract is expected to earn the Bears a 6th round competition pick in 2021.
Pace’s 17th quarter Bray is likely to play the third role of Chicago lineman / squad coach for a year before leaving, and the Bears will have nothing to prove.
At least the last quarterback Pace picked up, the 31-year-old Foles, has enough experience in a similar offense to give hope for the next few years. The best scenario is that he is able to stabilize the offensive and execute it effectively enough to bring them closer to the 2018 12 win team. The worst case scenario is that he is a replacement for a few years while the the team is gaining momentum from a quarterback in the draft.
Whether or not Pace is the guy taking this next big swing will depend on how they play in 2020, but no matter when they target a franchise QB, they’d better start hiring young prospects.