Addressing the quarterback position is a top priority for the Chicago Bears this offseason – GM Ryan Pace said it himself days after the team’s woeful 3-13 season ended.
With free agency drawing near and the draft looming on the horizon, the quarterback rumor mill will be spinning as teams try to find fits and players seek new homes.
Here is the latest.
- Over at ESPN, Ed Werder has a pair of scoops that could shape the offseason market. We’ll start in Dallas, where Werder reports a source who says Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is expecting a release – not a trade – this offseason. Romo hitting free agency would likely make him the most sought after player on the open market, even knowing his age (he will be 37 in April) and injury history (missed 25 games since 2011). Further, Werder adds the source says he believes Romo can start two or three more years. Even at an advanced age, Romo would be an attractive option teams looking for quarterback upgrades because teams need to only part with cash considerations, and not valuable trade chips such as players or draft picks. (Yesterday, we discussed one man’s opinion that Romo is a perfect fit for the Bears.)
- As we discussed earlier, Werder also reported that he hears the Patriots are not likely to trade back-up Jimmy Garoppolo. Of course, things can change in the days, weeks, and months ahead. The Patriots could find a suitor willing to pay an exorbitant cost to acquire Garoppolo and sign him to an extension to keep him in the fold. Dallas could work with Romo to engineer a trade to his preferred team, giving him a chance to play (and possibly win games), while also helping the Cowboys organization who helped nurse him to health. It’s only February. Things can and will change.
- Onto free agency, where Pro Football Focus lists a pair of Bears among the top 10 free agent quarterbacks who will be available this offseason. Brian Hoyer ranks third behind Kirk Cousins and Mike Glennon – who we will get to momentarily. PFF notes Hoyer was playing some of his best ball before a season-ending injury derailed his season. Hoyer could be a valuable player because he is a willing backup who is a capable starter, but doesn’t necessarily make for an awkward transition if a team’s developmental quarterback project is ready to take the next step in his development.
- As for the other quarterback with Bears ties in the top 10, Matt Barkley checks in at No. 4. Here is what PFF’s Zac Robinson had to say about Barkley: “Barkley’s poise and ability to get through progressions was impressive this past season, but he needs to cut down on the big mistakes that seemed to show up more as the season went on.” There was a stretch in which Barkley looked worthy of an extended look, but a turnover-plagued final two weeks left a sour note on his open tryout.
- Roy Cummings of FanRag Sports writes that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon could be this offseason’s Brock Osweiler – but better. Let’s take a moment and walk through this. Glennon was a third-round pick (73rd overall) in the 2013 draft, and posted a 5-13 record as a starter in his first two seasons. In 19 games (18 starts), Glennon threw for 4,025 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions, while completing 58.8 percent of his passes. Glennon posted an 83.7 rating in his first two years, while also owning a 4.7 percent touchdown rate and 2.4 percent interception rate. Twenty-five quarterbacks threw at least 600 passes over the course of the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and Glennon was one of them. Further, Glennon’s 4.7 TD% was tied for 13th highest, while his 2.4 INT% was the 12th lowest of the group. That puts him right in the middle of the pack.
- It isn’t the largest sample size, but those are better numbers than what I expected before diving into Glennon’s past. Still, signing him to anything that resembles Osweiler’s contract would be a monumental risk – even for a team with as much cap room as the Bears.
- Staying on the free agent front, Sam Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports Colin Kaepernick has changed agents, which is a move that stands out because it comes days before Kaepernick is set to meet with the new-look 49ers front office. San Francisco GM John Lynch said Kaepernick has reached out to the team and will meet soon. Kaepernick reportedly planned to opt out of his contract and become a free agent, but with no official announcement being made, it’s conceivable he could return to the 49ers if under a restructured deal. San Francisco would be without a quarterback on its depth chart if Kaepernick opts out, as fellow signal callers Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, and Thaddeus Lewis are set to become unrestricted free agents this offseason.
- While Jay Cutler’s future has yet to be officially determined, it’s possible for the Bears to learn from his past. Over at CSN Chicago, John Mullin writes that the Cutler years should push the Bears away from leaning heavily on the “measurables” when choosing the team’s next quarterback. Mullin sees flashes of Cutler in North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky (“6-3, 209 pounds, big arm”) and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer (“6-4, 230 pounds, big arm, mobility”), but is wary of Trubisky’s lack of experience (one year as a starter for the Tar Heels) and Kizer’s starting experience (the Fighting Irish were 14-11 with Kizer under center, including 4-8 in 2016). On the other hand, Mullin points out what Clemson’s Deshaun Watson has that the other two prospects don’t – championship-winning experience. And after rolling with Cutler and hoping the tangibles pan out, Mullin suggests “the hard-to-gauge intangibles” should be the first things the Bears brass looks at when dissecting quarterback prospects – not the other way around.