Mitchell Trubisky

Broncos Were Interested In Mitchell Trubisky?

Former Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky joined the Bills on a modest one-year deal earlier this month, but the former No. 2 overall pick will be the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart behind Josh Allen. One league source tells Ben Volin of the Boston Globe that he was surprised by Trubisky’s decision to sign with Buffalo, because the Broncos had shown interest.

With the Bills, Trubisky will not have the opportunity to start unless Allen should suffer an injury that forces him to miss time. In Denver, he would have battled with third-year pro Drew Lock to become the starting signal-caller for a team with an intriguing collection of skill position talent and a potentially top-flight defense.

Obviously, the fact that the Broncos showed interest does not mean that they extended a contract offer. But it’s not as though Trubisky broke the bank on his contract with the Bills, and if he could have signed with Denver on even a veteran minimum pact, it might have been a good move for him as he seeks to re-establish himself as a legitimate starting quarterback. After all, Lock has mostly struggled through his first two years in the league, and new GM George Paton has said that he wants to bring in a veteran passer and may consider a collegiate QB with the No. 9 overall pick in this year’s draft. Clearly, Paton — who considered a trade for Matthew Stafford — is not committed to having Lock open the 2021 season under center.

In any event, Trubisky will attempt to put on quality tape in the preseason as a member of the Bills, and Paton’s search for competition for Lock continues. As Volin observes, the Broncos are a logical landing spot for Jimmy Garoppolo, but even after the 49ers’ blockbuster trade to acquire the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft, it has been reported that San Francisco intends to keep Garoppolo this season.

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Contract Details: Trubisky, Andrews, Carson, Jones, Reiff, Joyner

Let’s catch up on the latest contract details from around the league:

  • QB Mitchell TrubiskyBills: One-year, $2MM base salary with $1.5MM guaranteed, $500K signing bonus, and $2MM available in incentives. Via Field Yates of ESPN on Twitter.
  • C David Andrews, Patriots: Four-years, $19 MM, with $6.5MM fully guaranteed. More money available in play-time incentives. Via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network on Twitter.
  • RB Chris CarsonSeahawks: Two-years, $10.425MM, $4.5MM signing bonus and $1MM guaranteed salary for 2021. $4.5MM non-guaranteed 2022 salary and $450K in per-game roster bonuses in ‘22. Up to $1.4MM in incentives in both years. Via Dan Graziano of ESPN on Twitter.
  • RB Aaron JonesPackers: Four-years, $48MM. The $13MM signing bonus is the only fully guaranteed money in the contract. A $3.5MM roster bonus is due on the first day of next league year. For 2023, a $7MM roster bonus is due on the third day of the league year. You can read the full breakdown of each year of the contract via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
  • OL Riley ReiffBengals: One-year, $7.5MM. $5.5MM guaranteed. We hadn’t known the terms of this contract yet, and $7.5MM is a pretty decent price for the Bengals for a solid starting tackle. Via Yates on Twitter.
  • S Lamarcus JoynerJets: One-year, up to $4.5MM. $2.5MM is guaranteed, with a $1MM signing bonus and $1.5MM base salary. Up to $500K in per game active roster bonuses and $1.5MM in playing time and interception incentives. Via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.

Bills, Mitchell Trubisky Agree To Deal

Mitchell Trubisky found a landing spot, and it will not give him a chance to start in 2021 (barring injury). The former Bears quarterback intends to sign with the Bills, Adam Schefter and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com report (on Twitter). The Bills have announced the signing. It’s a one-year deal worth $2.5MM, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).

The former No. 2 overall pick will be set to back up Josh Allen in Buffalo. This marks the latest in a slew of bridge- or backup-level quarterback signings this week, and it will end Trubisky’s scrutinized four-year tenure in Chicago. It is a one-year agreement, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

A Cleveland-area native, Trubisky will return to the shores of Lake Erie in an effort to stabilize his career. While the Bears did advance to the playoffs in two of the maligned passer’s four seasons, Trubisky’s Chicago tenure veered off course quickly. The one-year North Carolina starter showed early in his run he was incapable of playing on the level of fellow 2017 first-round QBs Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. The Bears used Trubisky as a starter for most of his four seasons with the team but have since signed Andy Dalton.

This will put Trubisky ahead of another quarterback who has seen his value drop, with Jake Fromm now having a more difficult path to becoming Allen’s top backup. Once rumored as a first-round pick, the ex-Georgia passer went in the 2020 fifth round. Fromm now projects as Buffalo’s third-stringer again. Previous Bills backup Matt Barkley is a free agent.

The Bears, who traded up for Trubisky four years ago, turned to him as their Week 1 starter again in 2020. But Matt Nagy benched him in Week 3. However, Nagy reinstalled Trubisky as his QB1 after Nick Foles then struggled and suffered an injury. Trubisky helped the Bears beat some sub-.500 opposition down the stretch, but that run was good enough to lift the team to the postseason for the second time in three years. Trubisky, his Nickelodeon MVP award notwithstanding, struggled in a one-sided loss to the Saints. He will attempt to regroup behind Allen in Buffalo.

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Bears GM Ryan Pace Discusses QB Plans

Nick Foles is the only Bears quarterback under contract in 2021, so there’s a good chance the organization will see at least a few changes at the position in 2021. GM Ryan Pace acknowledged as much during a conference call today, noting that the front office would literally explore every avenue as they determine who will be under center next season.

“Everything is on the table in regard to the quarterback situation,” Pace said (via the team’s website). “And, honestly, that includes players on our current roster, that includes free agency, trade, the draft and a combination of all those. We have a plan in place, and now it’s about executing that plan.”

As Pace noted, it won’t just be himself and head coach Matt Nagy making the decisions at quarterback. Rather, the front office will also be relying on input from offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, quarterbacks coach/pass game coordinator John DeFilippo, and offensive analyst Tom Herman, who the team hired yesterday.

We’ve already seen a pair of major quarterback trades this offseason, with the Bears seemingly being connected to every major trade option. However, Pace acknowledged that the team could find themselves setting an unofficial trade deadline if they don’t eventually reach an agreement with another team.

“You obviously have a lot of different things planned out with free agency and the draft, and the last thing you want to do is put yourself or the team in a bad position where you get kind of stuck,” Pace said. “So you have internal timelines based on the calendar year with free agency and the draft, and you operate from that.”

Pace seems to be willing to explore every option, but he wouldn’t give any clues as to whether the organization will retain former second-overall pick Mitch Trubisky. When asked if Trubisky could be back in 2021, the GM noted that “everything is on the table.”

“We’re not going to lay all that out right now,” Pace said. “Those are all internal discussions we’ve had. I would say, again, everything is on the table with all the quarterbacks.”

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Latest On Patriots’ QB Outlook

We heard at the beginning of January that the Patriots and quarterback Cam Newton were unlikely to reunite in 2021, but a report from earlier this week suggested that the the door is not closed on a Newton return to Foxborough next season. And multiple sources tell Ben Volin of the Boston Globe that they would not be surprised to see the Pats re-sign the 2015 league MVP.

After all, HC Bill Belichick reportedly loved coaching Newton, and Volin hears that even after the 2020 campaign, Belichick has raved about the effort that Newton put forth last season. He is concerned about Newton’s arm strength — which is understandable given the 31-year-old’s disappointing passing performance during his first season with New England — but he appears open to continuing the relationship just the same. Newton, meanwhile, has been similarly candid about how much he enjoyed playing for the Pats, so if the two sides can agree to another inexpensive contract, a re-up could be in the cards.

Of course, the club has also had conversations about every quarterback in the league that could be available via trade, and the expectation remains that the Pats will select a QB in the early rounds of this year’s draft (perhaps with their No. 15 overall selection). So if Newton comes back, it obviously won’t be as anything more than a bridge option to a younger passer, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com suggests that the team could even re-sign Newton and pair him with another veteran.

If New England goes that route, one obvious option would be to re-sign longtime Patriot Brian Hoyer, as Volin notes. Volin also believes that Mitchell Trubisky could be on the Pats’ radar, and at this point in their respective careers, Trubisky certainly appears to have a higher ceiling than Newton. Some have connected the dots between New England and former Belichick draftee Jacoby Brissett, but Volin sees a Brissett signing as unlikely since he did not “click” with Belichick and OC Josh McDaniels before he was dealt to the Colts in 2017. Assuming the Patriots do end up adding two QBs this offseason, Jarrett Stidham‘s roster status will be very much in doubt.

One collegiate signal-caller that has been routinely mocked to the Patriots is Alabama QB Mac Jones. As Reiss notes in the piece linked above, former New England OC Charlie Weis was effusive in his praise of Jones, and Weis sees him as a perfect fit in the Pats’ offense. Though he is not as athletic as some of the other passers in this year’s class, Jones is more than capable of moving around in the pocket and can make accurate throws to every part of the field.

If the Pats really want Jones, though, they may have to trade up from the No. 15 pick. His stock is rising, and ESPN draftniks Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay both believe he will be off the board by the time New England is on the clock.

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Mitchell Trubisky “Can See” Bears Return

Reigning NVP Mitchell Trubisky is slated for free agency. However, the quarterback says he “can see” a scenario in which he returns to the Bears (via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com).

I think I can definitely see myself back here next year,” Trubisky said. “Obviously, a lot of that is out of my control, but it feels like home and it feels like we have unfinished business. Right now, I’m just bummed about this season being over and how the game went. So, a lot of emotions going on right now, but I can see that. We’ll see. There are a lot of things that have to happen and a lot of decisions that have to be made and that’s out of my control, but I can see that.”

Trubisky, a hit with the ages 6-12 demo, lost his starting job to Nick Foles early in the season. He returned to the starting lineup in Week 12 and helped the Bears to wins over the Texans, Vikings, and Jaguars. However, it was all downhill after that, and Sunday’s loss to the Saints could mark his final game with Chicago.

Despite it all, Trubisky remains confident in his abilities.

I feel like I got better [after the benching],” Trubisky said. “I feel like I got better this year. I feel like when I was put back in the starting lineup that the offense was better and I gave my team a chance to win, and we did win games, and that is why we were able to get back into the playoffs. It wasn’t just me, but it was the whole unit coming together and the whole team making plays and really getting through that adversity together. But I feel like I was a big part of that.

So there are some good things that we did toward the end of the season that helped put us in position to be able to play here tonight, but that’s now how we want to finish…I think we have some pieces, but there is a lot more that we need to do better, and we need to figure that out.”

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Bears To Retain HC Matt Nagy?

Over the past few weeks, it was looking increasingly likely that Bears head coach Matt Nagy would be fired at season’s end. But after a six-game losing streak that appeared to dash the club’s playoff hopes, Chicago has won two in a row and suddenly controls its own destiny in its push for a wildcard berth.

As such, multiple sources tell Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that the Bears are expected to retain Nagy in 2021 (Twitter link). If his team defeats the 1-13 Jaguars today, Nagy will have secured at least eight wins in each of his three seasons in the Windy City, and that may be enough for ownership to keep him around for another year.

Obviously, a loss to the tanking Jags would be a major blow to Nagy’s prospects, but it currently sounds as if he will be safe if the Bears beat Jacksonville, regardless of what happens against the NFC-leading Packers next week. Assuming that’s the case, it will be interesting to see what the club does with GM Ryan Pace, who was also said to be facing an uncertain future in Chicago. After all, a new GM may or may not want to be married to Nagy, so if Nagy stays, Pace might stay as well.

Part of the reason for Nagy’s changing fortunes is the improved play of QB Mitch Trubisky. Since Trubisky was reinserted into the starting lineup four games ago, the Bears are averaging 31 points per game, and the former No. 2 overall pick looks more comfortable and confident. Nagy has employed more play action passes to help his young signal-caller, and Trubisky has completed 68% of his passes for eight TDs against just three interceptions.

Some NFL executives tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com that the Bears have to consider re-signing Trubisky, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency at season’s end since the club declined his fifth-year option earlier this year. A Trubisky re-up would validate both Nagy and Pace, and though it was difficult to imagine a month ago, it’s possible that all three men will be back with the Bears in 2021.

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Nick Foles Back At Practice; Mitchell Trubisky Remains Bears’ Starter

Mitchell Trubisky appears to officially have regained his job, for now. Nick Foles returned to Bears practice Wednesday, but Matt Nagy said Trubisky will start Sunday against the Lions.

The Bears started Trubisky in Week 12, but Foles was inactive due to the hip injury that knocked him out of Chicago’s previous game. Foles practicing but being set to play behind Trubisky is a course change for the Bears, who have seen their season take a wrong turn.

Nagy yanked Trubisky in Week 3, and Foles provided a spark in a comeback win in Atlanta. Chicago then improved to 5-1 after two more Foles-directed victories. But the Bears have since become the first post-merger team to follow a 5-1 start with five straight losses. While the 5-6 team remains in the playoff race, it enters Week 13 ranked 31st in total offense. Foles is 29th in QBR.

Trubisky did not play well against the Packers but did guide a comeback win over the Lions in Week 1. Against Detroit in his career, Trubisky has a 14-4 TD-INT ratio. He has not lost to the Lions since 2017. This certainly might not be the final quarterback change of Chicago’s season, but for now, the Bears are giving the former No. 2 overall pick and 2021 free agent-to-be another shot.

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Bears To Start Mitchell Trubisky In Week 12

Mitchell Trubisky will receive another chance. The Bears are turning back to their initial 2020 starter against the Packers, Matt Nagy announced Friday.

Nick Foles is battling a hip injury but has struggled after enjoying brief success upon replacing Trubisky earlier this season. The Bears have lost four straight and rank 31st in both points and total yards after 10 games. Foles has not practiced this week.

The Bears lost Trubisky to injury as well, but the former No. 2 overall pick has recovered and will attempt to mount one last contract-year push ahead of a potential free agency bid. Chicago used Tyler Bray as Foles’ backup while Trubisky sat. Despite being a 2013 UDFA, Bray had one career pass attempt going into that ill-fated relief effort. Trubisky, 26, will return to a stat line that includes a career-low 59.3% completion rate and a 6.5 yards-per-attempt figure. He ended last season at 6.1.

Trubisky’s return to action illustrates how dire the Bears’ offensive situation has become. Nagy benched the fourth-year starter in Week 3, and Foles led a comeback victory over the collapse-prone Falcons. Trubisky struggled against Atlanta, continuing a swoon that prompted the Bears to pass on his fifth-year option in May. Trubisky regressed across the board last season, and the Bears traded for Foles. The latter, however, ranks 28th in Total QBR. Nagy handed off the play-calling reins to OC Bill Lazor in Week 10, but the Bears accomplished little on offense in a loss to the Vikings.

All of this has resulted in the Bears continuing to largely waste the work of their top-tier defense — a familiar refrain in Chicago. The Bears’ losing streak has moved them to the “In the hunt” sector of NFC playoff picture graphics.

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Injury Notes: Stafford, Bridgewater, Bears

Matthew Stafford is dealing with a hand injury, but there’s hope the ailment won’t sideline the veteran. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the Lions quarterback suffered a “partial tear in a ligament in the thumb on his throwing hand.”

The team will evaluate Stafford’s ability to throw the ball throughout the week, but it’s expected that Stafford will ultimately be in uniform on Sunday against the Panthers.

2019 aside, Stafford has been remarkably durable throughout his NFL career. Prior to his season-ending injury last season, Stafford had appeared in 136 consecutive regular season contests, the sixth-longest mark in NFL history. The 32-year-old has had a solid comeback season for the 4-5-0 Lions, completing 63.7-percent of his passes for 2,403 yards, 17 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

If Stafford were to miss any time, the Lions would likely turn to backups Chase Daniel or David Blough.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the league…

  • Speaking of Lions/Panthers, Teddy Bridgewater‘s MCL sprain “is consider minor,” according to Pelissero (via Twitter). The Panthers quarterback is expected to practice on a limited basis at tomorrow’s practice, and as the reporter notes, head coach Matt Rhule had previously expressed optimism that Bridgewater will play against the Lions. Bridgewater suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of his team’s loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday.
  • Despite being carted off the field yesterday, Bears quarterback Nick Foles could be available following his team’s bye. While the veteran is dealing with both hip and glute injuries, coach Matt Nagy said Foles should be alright. “It wasn’t as bad as we once thought,” Nagy said (via Gene Chamberlain of the Associated Press). “He’ll be working through that here as we go, keeping an eye on that, kind of day to day.”
  • While Foles could play against the Packers in two weeks, Nagy wasn’t so confident that backup Mitch Trubisky will be in uniform. “I think there’s a possibility, but I don’t know that for sure,” Nagy said. “I think it’s going to be day by day. I don’t know if he knows that. So we’ll just keep an eye on that.” The former second-overall pick has seen only one snap since Week 3.