In one way or another, the hope is that the Chicago Bears have upgraded their quarterback situation with the moves the team has made this offseason. Parting ways with Jay Cutler was just part of the teardown at the position, which now features three new faces entering the 2017 season.
But, of course, at the top of the depth chart is Mike Glennon, a third-round pick in 2013 who posted respectable numbers in 19 games (18 starts) in his first two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Glennon was unseated in 2015 by first overall selection Jameis Winston, but has his eyes on rebuilding his stock in Chicago where he will open camp as the undisputed starting quarterback.
Unfortunately, Brian Bender of Sporting News doesn’t see Glennon as an upgrade from what the Bears were playing with in 2016. Indeed, Bender recently offered up his 2017 starting quarterback rankings, where Glennon checks in at No. 27.
So while Glennon isn’t the league’s worst starting option – that dubious distinction belongs to our old friend Josh McCown, now of the New York Jets – this isn’t where Glennon wants to be, nor is it where the Bears want him to rank after handing him more than $18 million in guaranteed money.
Bender adds that first-round draft pick Mitch Trubisky figures to be in the mix at some point. But the Bears have made it clear that the plan is for Glennon to be The Man in 2017 – even if that title comes while being a one-year placeholder until Trubisky is ready.
In case you’re curious, the quarterbacks who rank behind Glennon, but ahead of McCown are as follows: Trevor Siemian (28, Broncos), Deshaun Watson (29, Texans), Jared Goff (30, Rams), and Cody Kessler (31, Browns). Outside of Watson and Goff being a pair of former first-round picks, there isn’t much upside to be found in this group. It’s also worth noting that Brian Hoyer, who was the Bears’ second-string quarterback in 2016, actually ranks ahead of Glennon on this list. Hoyer, like Glennon, isn’t expected to be a long-term answer for the San Francisco 49ers, whose other quarterbacks are Hoyer’s former Bears teammate Matt Barkley, as well as rookie C.J. Beathard.
Perhaps expectations should be low for quarterbacks like Glennon and Hoyer. After all, history tells us there isn’t much to be excited about when free agent quarterbacks come to town. Because over at CBS Sports, Ryan Wilson dives into the recent history of free agent quarterback signings and delivers some bad news for Bears (and 49ers) fans.
Wilson examines free agent quarterback signings from the last five years and unearths some uninspiring names:
- Brock Osweiler, Texans (2016)
- Robert Griffin III, Browns (2016)
- Brian Hoyer, Texans (2015)
- Josh McCown, Browns (2015)
- Tyrod Taylor, Bills (2015)
- Josh McCown, Buccaneers (2014)
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Texans (2014)
- Kevin Kolb, Bills (2013)
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Titans (2013)
- Matt Cassel, Vikings (2013)
- Peyton Manning, Broncos (2012)
- Matt Flynn, Seahawks (2012)
That list doesn’t include traded quarterbacks like Sam Bradford (2016), Ryan Fitzpatrick (2015), or Alex Smith (2013), but adding those names to this group doesn’t make it any better. The only two quarterbacks to serve as the primary starter in multiple seasons for the team they signed with in free agency were Manning and Taylor. Flynn lost out to rookie Russell Wilson in 2012, and Cassell was bumped out of his role as a starter a year later by Teddy Bridgewater, but served as a backup.
So if you’re a Bears fan hoping that Glennon will be a surprise savior and deliver the team’s first winning season since 2012 (or at least its first non-losing season since 2013) – don’t bet on it. But if you have your hopes set on Trubisky stepping in as the Week 1 starter in 2018, recent history suggests that is how things will play out.