NFL free agency is less than two months away, and with questions surrounding the future of Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, it’s natural to assume Chicago will be in the market for a veteran quarterback.
The prevailing opinion is that GM Ryan Pace will add a quarterback who doesn’t pose an immediate threat to Trubisky’s starting job but who can also be the Bears’ version of Ryan Tannehill and enter the lineup midseason to salvage and spark a deep playoff run. Ironically, the guy Tannehill replaced in Tennessee — Marcus Mariota — is a name that’s consistently mentioned when searching for who Pace could target.
According to NFL.com’s most recent QB Index, Mariota to the Bears is a logical fit.
Look, if Mariota is really set on getting right back in the saddle as a starter, the best team for him would be the Chicago Bears, whose incumbent QB Mitchell Trubisky — another former No. 2 overall pick — is heading down a Mariota-like path in a hurry. If the Bears really are committed to Mitch as the starter — and that is their story for now — they could take a flier on Mariota (backup Chase Daniel is a free agent) and hope he can pull a Tanny on Trubisky if the young passer gives them no choice but to give someone else a shot before it’s too late in 2020.
Mariota wouldn’t inspire much excitement in Chicago, considering his career has largely been a disappointment through five seasons. He’s 29-32 as a starter and has never played a full 16 games in any one season. He’s fallen shy of 3,000 passing yards in three of his five seasons with the Titans and has 19 or less touchdown passes in four of his five years in the league.
But here’s the thing: the Bears can’t enter 2020 with a Trubisky-or-bust approach. Mariota, for as underwhelming as he may appear right now, still offers a degree of insurance against the bottom falling out from under Trubisky.
Sure, Mariota hasn’t done much with the opportunities he’s been given in Tennessee, but the same can be said for Trubisky. Maybe a quarterback competition would bring the best out of both of them and help whoever becomes the starter reach their true potential.
Or maybe the Bears are one step closer to quarterback purgatory that can only be fixed once they pick high enough in the NFL draft to land another blue-chip prospect. And if that’s the case, here’s to hoping they get it right next time.
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