REPORT: Bears ‘most logical fit’ for embattled quarterback
March 7, 2020
With only 10 days left before NFL teams begin legally courting free agents, rumors are running rampant. While potential interests are still mired in the speculation stages, Matt Harmon of Yahoo! Sports proposed an interesting fit for the quarterback-starved Chicago Bears.
Listing the most logical landing spots for 20 free agents, Harmon theorizes that free agent quarterback Jameis Winston is a fit for the Bears.
Winston, 26, has been an enigma throughout his five-year career. The 2015 No. 1 overall pick led the NFL in passing yards in 2019-20 with 5,109. However, Winston league-leading 30 interceptions–nine more than the 21 thrown by second-place Baker Mayfield– offset both his passing effort and his career-high 33 touchdowns.
Teams considering Winston need to determine whether or not Winston’s career-high in interceptions is an anomaly or his new standard, as prior to last season Winston never threw for more than 18 interceptions.
However, Winston was battling the injury bug. Last year, Winston played through a broken thumb, a torn meniscus and underwent LASIK surgery to improve his vision.
Nevertheless, Winston’s struggles were a byproduct of mental lapses rather than physical limitations. Harmon categorizes Winston as “every team’s third or fourth choice,” depicting the Florida State product as a casualty of a deep free agent market and a draft flush with quarterback potential. Harmon writes:
“It’s hard to sell Jameis as a clear upgrade for any of the teams searching for a quarterback this offseason. Perhaps if the quarterback market wasn’t set to be so flush in both the draft and free agency, he would be more of a desirable piece. Alas, he’s found himself in the wrong year. No matter where he goes, he’s going to have to compete for a job. The Bears cannot possibly sell their fanbase on Mitchell Trubisky as the lone option behind center. Winston won’t be their savior either but if Trubisky flops again, he’d at least bring a totally different vibe to the offense.”
But the Bears are in a compromised position. It speaks volumes that Chicago, who traded four high-round draft picks to move up one slot to draft Trubisky, is already scouring the market for other franchises’ embattled quarterbacks.
Trubisky’s regression from year two to year three was startling. The University of North Carolina product struggled with accuracy, often overthrowing wide open targets at critical junctures. A dislocated shoulder and slight labrum tear stunted Trubisky’s ability to the run the football, an element of his game that is imperative to his success.
However, the Bears’ offensive dysfunction wasn’t solely on Trubisky. Head coach Matt Nagy ignored the running game, instead trying to pass down the opposition’s throat to no avail. The tight end position was incompetent, with Bears tight ends combining for a total of two touchdowns and 395 yards. For comparison’s sake, Kansas City Chiefs’ tight Travis Kelce hauled in five touchdowns to go alongside 1,333.
Nevertheless, there’s no metric that justifies another season with Trubisky under center absent of a contingency plan. Bears general manager Ryan Pace–whose reputation is tethered to Trubisky’s performance–hopes that Trubisky recovers the swagger and effectiveness that propelled him to the 2019 Pro Bowl. However, until Trubisky proves himself capable of leading an NFL offense, the Bears need to explore other options.