INDIANAPOLIS – If you were thinking that something was about to change over the last seven weeks, you were mistaken.
As expected, his No. 1 quarterback in 2019 is his starter for 2020, with no faith wavering in Mitchell Trubisky.
“To be clear, yes it is. We believe in Mitch,” said general manager Ryan Pace when asked about if the team remains behind their embattled quarterback. “Mitch knows he needs to be better, we need to be better around him and that’s our goal.”
Most didn’t expect that answer to change, but here are two questions that will be pressing in the next few months for Pace: Is their faith in Trubisky beyond the 2020 season, and would they bring in immediate competition to push or succeed him?
Let’s start with the first question, which is the fifth-year option on Trubisky’s contract for 2021. With how the structure works, the Bears don’t have to decide on that till May and expected there to be no movement until then.
“We have more pressing needs right now. The trigger date isn’t until May, so we have time on that,” said Pace of the fifth year.
What will end up being the most compelling narrative the next few months is what quarterback or quarterbacks they’ll bring in. They’ll have to get someone since Chase Daniel won’t be brought back as the No. 2 quarterback in 2020, but the question is where they’ll get him.
There are some good quarterbacks in the draft, a few that could even fall towards the second round where the Bears have selections. It’s not been common for Pace to take quarterbacks since Trubisky is the only signal caller to ever be taken during his tenure with the Bears, and a trade into the first round to get one seems unlikely.
This year’s free agent quarterback class is arguably one of the best in the past decade, featuring the likes of Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Teddy Bridgewater. The Bears probably won’t be up for trying to get one of those quarterbacks, since they’ll command salary and the starter’s job, but there are others like Marcus Mariota or Ryan Tannehill, depending on which one the Titans don’t keep, or maybe a Case Keenum who could be brought in.
Always known for his trades, perhaps Pace swaps some picks to grab a quarterback under contract?
All are still unknown before the new league year begins in March, but it Pace would like to bring someone in to challenge Trubisky before the start of the 2020 season, he’ll have options. Right now, Pace is trying to walk that line of supporting his quarterback while also creating some healthy competition.
“With every player, it’s a combination of everything. We believe in him, we’re gonna support him, we’re gonna be better around him, but I think competition brings out the best in everybody,” said Pace.
But there’s also the hope for Pace that Trubisky finds himself in his fourth year and becomes the franchise quarterback he’d hoped for back in 2017. Those odds might seem long at the moment, and because of that, the general manager is willing to ask for evaluation help from others the next few months.
“You have to be honest with yourself on what’s best for our team. Just getting different opinions; this isn’t a dictatorship, this is a very collaborative effort,” said Pace. “We’ve got a lot of talented scouts and coaches, so valuing those opinions. I think it helps too when you bring new people in the building. We have new coaches to come in with fresh eyes, and taking advantage of that.”
It’s best he does so, because what he decides with the position the next few months could define his career in Chicago.