Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace boldly went where no other Bears front office executive dared to go in previous drafts, when the team traded up one spot in the NFL Draft to select quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The reviews and reports are out on the deal and the draft that ensued for the Bears, and the outside views are not pretty.
As expected, the Bears are being highly scrutinized, if not outright blasted, out of the gate.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has one of many ugly reports in the wake of the Bears’ completion of the NFL Draft. La Canfora quotes an anonymous NFL executive – whose teams are “routinely in the postseason” – who seems bewildered by Chicago’s moves from the weekend at the draft:
“We don’t know what the hell they were doing. It’s all anyone is talking about. It’s really bad between Pace and Fox. Fox is fuming about being left in the dark on the trade (for Trubisky). I don’t know anyone who likes their draft. From the first pick on, we can’t figure out what they were doing. Go back and look at how many small-school kids they took. People around the league are shocked. It’s really bad between Pace and Fox.”
An executive from another team noted: “Either the Bears know something no one else in the league knows, or that draft just got a lot of people fired only they don’t know it yet.”
If accurate, it doesn’t take too much of an imagination to see why Fox would be fuming. The Bears entered the draft with seven picks, left with five, and didn’t add an impact starter at any position of need for 2017. When Fox’s job security might turn on the team’s performance in 2017, he may have hoped for more immediate help. (For what it’s worth, other reports indicate Fox was more looped in on the Trubisky decision throughout the run-up to the draft.)
Over at Rotoworld, Evan Silva’s draft grades drop a whopping ‘F’ on the Bears, knocking them for taking three non-FBS products. Silva calls second-round tight end Adam Shaheen a “D-2 Frankenstein lookalike” and believes that, while fourth-round running back Tarik Cohen is fun to watch, “he has almost no chance to make an NFL offensive impact.”
Altogether, it makes for a spicy meatball. But there’s more where that came from because Mike Glennon – whose job Trubisky aims to take eventually – is reportedly not pleased with the way things unfolded over the weekend.
Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune reports that Glennon felt like he’d been cheated on when word of the pick came down. Sure, he’ll still be the starter when the season opens, but now he knows that the Bears were always looking ahead to a longer-term option, and it wasn’t him. By signing Glennon, the Bears protected themselves against the downside risk of not landing their preferred quarterback in the draft, but they did so at the cost of Glennon feeling like the team truly believed in him.
Campbell believes the bridge of trust between Glennon and the Bears needs to be repaired before the season starts. Mending a broken bridge with a free agent signee before he even takes a snap isn’t the best look for a rebuilding team that just whiffed on the top end of the free agent class.
On the other hand, how much do the Bears owe a player who was a clipboard-holding backup the last two years behind Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay? Chicago already paid Glennon handsomely with a guarantee worth $18.5 million to have a leg-up on the starter’s job. The Bears’ commitment to Glennon always seemed like a short-term deal, given that almost all the guaranteed money was coming in the first year. Even at the time of the signing, it wasn’t like we weren’t all saying it would preclude the Bears from drafting a quarterback. Did we expect *this* level of a pick? No. But the principle is the same.
Pace can’t know for sure what his team is getting in Trubisky, and even if he could, signing a quality placeholder allows Trubisky to develop at an ideal pace without having to throw him to the wolves behind an offensive line and with a group of wide receivers that didn’t receive any help via the draft. In that way, even the short-term signing of Mike Glennon was really all about the long-term.
Whether there are fences to be mended between Pace and Glennon or Pace and Fox, it’s clear that this draft – and especially the decision to bet big on Trubisky – was about the long-term future of the Bears. Draft grades and outside voices should factor that into the equation.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.