Mitchell Trubisky

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.

Nick Foles Named Bears Starter

Not that it’s too surprising, but now it’s official. Nick Foles will be the Bears’ starting quarterback for their Week 4 matchup with the Colts, head coach Matt Nagy announced Monday. Nagy went on to say this wasn’t just a temporary move, and that Foles would be the starter “moving forward.”

Foles came on in relief of Mitchell Trubisky Sunday, and led an improbable comeback over the Falcons to improve Chicago to 3-0. Foles was traded from Jacksonville this offseason, and lost the abridged training camp battle to Trubisky. Everyone figured Trubisky would be on a short leash, but after the Bears started 2-0 he had appeared to have bought himself some time.

Despite Trubisky’s heroics in a Week 1 comeback of his own, internally he clearly never had too much support. Buzz about a fourth-year leap was premature, and the UNC product will now hit the bench. In his first start with his new team Foles will be going up against Frank Reich, who helped guide him to a Super Bowl victory as his offensive coordinator with the Eagles.

Given that Foles has a somewhat lengthy injury history and is always capable of being ineffective himself, it’s quite possible we see Trubisky back under center before too long. It’s also quite possible that Trubisky, who had his fifth-year option declined back in May and will be a free agent at the end of the year, has thrown his last pass in a Bears uniform.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Bench Mitchell Trubisky For Nick Foles

The move many predicted would inevitably happen came in Week 3, as the Bears benched Mitchell Trubisky in favor of Nick Foles. Even though the thought coming into the season was that Trubisky would be on a short leash, it was still a bit of a surprise considering Chicago had started 2-0.

Foles promptly led the team on a huge comeback, as the Bears beat the Falcons 30-26 after trailing 26-10 late in the fourth quarter. He finished his 2020 debut 16/29 for 188 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Trubisky was 13/21 for 128 yards and a touchdown and no turnovers, so it’s not like there was any one specific moment that led to his benching.

After Trubisky led his own furious rally in Week 1 against the Lions there was a lot of talk that he had made a fourth-year leap, but obviously head coach Matt Nagy didn’t feel that way internally. Nagy insisted after the game that he just wanted to enjoy the win and didn’t know who his quarterback would be in Week 4, but it would be pretty shocking to see them go back to Trubisky now after making the switch.

It’s not too often you see a 3-0 team with quarterback drama, and it’ll be very interesting to see what happens moving forward. Chicago of course traded for Foles from Jacksonville this offseason, but Trubs won the training camp battle. The Bears declined his fifth-year option back in May, so Trubisky will be a free agent at the end of the year.

If Foles takes the job and runs with it, it’s possible we’ve seen the former second overall pick throw his last pass with Chicago. That being said, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Foles is banged up or ineffective and Trubisky is back out there within a couple of weeks. Buckle up.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Expected To Start Mitchell Trubisky

Despite Nick Foles‘ superior NFL resume, the Bears are likely to start the season without a change at quarterback. Mitchell Trubisky is expected to start Chicago’s Week 1 game in Detroit after beating out Foles in a training camp competition, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

This comes after a recent report indicated Foles was the more accurate passer during Bears camp, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (video link). But Trubisky was also reported to be improving. The Bears will give the former No. 2 overall pick another shot, despite not picking up his fifth-year option and trading for Foles this offseason.

Trubisky has been one of the NFL’s more maligned players over the course of his Chicago tenure. While he rated as QBR’s No. 3 passer in 2018 — when the Bears made a surprise run to the NFC North title — Trubisky regressed considerably in 2019. The former one-year North Carolina starter ranked 28th in QBR last season and averaged just 5.9 adjusted yards per attempt, prompting the Bears to acquire Foles from the Jaguars.

Foles, 31, did not fare particularly well last season either. After a broken collarbone sidelined him for much of his Jaguars debut/one-and-done season, Gardner Minshew supplanted him shortly after he returned to action. However, Foles orchestrated one of the best playoff stretches by a quarterback in NFL history in 2017, winning Super Bowl LII MVP honors. He then helped the Eagles back to the playoffs the following season, after replacing an injured Carson Wentz late in 2018. Foles’ Eagles beat Trubisky’s Bears in a wild-card game, though that contest is better known for Cody Parkey‘s game-ending missed field goal.

The Bears reworked Foles’ contract this offseason, but the veteran passer would still be a costly cut in 2021. A Foles release would not create any cap space for the Bears, and it would cost more than $10MM. But Trubisky is not under contract in 2021. He will, however, have a chance to bounce back in a contract year — at least at the season’s outset.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Will Not Name Starting QB Prior To Week 1

One of the league’s premier position battles will not be settled, at least publicly, until the Bears suit up for their regular-season opener.

Matt Nagy said Saturday he will not declare whether Mitchell Trubisky or Nick Foles has won the job prior to the Bears’ Week 1 game. The Bears will travel to Detroit for their 2020 opener.

Ordinarily, a team featuring a quarterback competition would name a starter by the time its third preseason game comes. With the COVID-19 pandemic prompting the NFL to scrap the preseason slate, the Bears will attempt to keep their decision in-house. Though, the clubhouse leader here will stand to see more reps than the likely QB2 in the coming days.

The Bears acquired Foles from the Jaguars to push Trubisky, who has not worked out to the team’s liking. The Bears passed on Trubisky’s fifth-year option in May.

Foles, 31, is also coming off a down year, suffering a broken collarbone in Week 1 and being replaced by sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew shortly after he recovered from the injury. Foles, however, has a significant experience edge on Trubisky, who dropped from third in QBR in 2018 to 28th last season. While Foles has not shown much outside of Philadelphia, his two late-season runs with the Eagles — involving a Super Bowl LII MVP award and a wild-card win over the Bears a year later — certainly dwarf Trubisky’s accomplishments.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears To Play Both QBs In Preseason

The Bears will give significant reps to both Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky in the preseason, head coach Matt Nagy says (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). It’ll be a full-blown quarterback competition in Chicago, one that will have major implications for Trubisky’s future with the team.

The Bears turned down Trubisky’s fifth-year option earlier this month, putting the former No. 2 overall pick on course for free agency after the 2020 season. The option would have been guaranteed for injury only, but it was a risk the Bears weren’t willing to take. Trubisky finished 2019 with one of the lowest QBRs in the entire league, a step back from his Pro Bowl (alternate) campaign in 2018.

The Bears aren’t ready to give up on him just yet, but they did safeguard the position by trading for Foles, one of the league’s most coveted free agents of 2019. Foles’ first and only season in Jacksonville was derailed by injury and he’s got extra incentive to deliver in Chicago. If the veteran meets certain performance thresholds, he can void his deal early and cash in all over again.

Foles went 0-4 in his 2019 starts, completing 65.8% of his throws for 736 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Before that, he led the Eagles to a Super Bowl ring in the 2017 season and turned in more memorable moments for the Birds in 2018. With the Bears, Foles will have the opportunity to reclaim his status as one of the league’s greatest clutch performers. But, first, he’ll have to duke it out with Trubisky.

Bears Notes: Trubisky, RB, Ginn

Mitchell Trubisky couldn’t have been happy about the Bears‘ decision to decline his fifth-year option, but he didn’t react poorly to the news. At least, that’s what GM Ryan Pace claimed in an interview on 670 The Score.

We’ve always had the approach where we’re honest and we’re truthful with our players and with our staff, then we move on and we get to work,” Pace said. “That’s where it’s at. Mitch gets it. Everyone’s competing. Everyone’s focused on better results. That’s the entire team. We believe in Mitch. That doesn’t change. You can point to Kyle Fuller as a great example of a player who didn’t get his option exercised. I’d think we would say that worked out well for him and for us.”

The Bears could have extended quarterback’s deal through 2021 at cost of $24.8MM. Even though that sum would have only been guaranteed for injury, Pace turned down the option. Just three short years ago, the Bears traded up from No. 3 to No. 2 to get the UNC standout. However, he’s been inconsistent as a pro, and the success of Patrick Mahomes (the No. 10 pick in the 2017 draft) and Deshaun Watson (No. 12) have only underscored his struggles.

Of course, it hasn’t been all bad. In 2018, Trubisky finished with 24 touchdowns against 12 interceptions and a trip to the Pro Bowl as an alternate. In 2019, he regressed and finished 28th the bottom in QBR. This year, he’ll look to get his career back on track and inspire confidence in the Bears’ front office.

Here’s more out of Chicago:

  • There’s been some talk about the Bears’ need for a veteran running back, but Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune isn’t too worked up about it, noting the continued availability of players like Carlos Hyde, who ran for over 1,000 yards last year. For now, they’ve got Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery leading the way with Ryan Nall and UDFAs Artavis Pierce and Napoleon Maxwell rounding out the group.
  • New Bears wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. is entering his 14th season as a pro, but he says he still has a few tricks up his sleeve. “I can run. I can still run,” Ginn told reporters this week (via Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic). “That’s my attribute. I can run, I can catch, I can jump, I can do everything that I can possibly do to be a receiver.” Fishbain agrees and sees Ginn as a solution to one of the Bears’ biggest problems from last year. In 2019, the Bears averaged a league-low 5.67 yards per pass, down from a respectable 6.96 in 2018. With top-end speed, Ginn can give them a boost.
  • Despite some previous rumblings, the Bears are not planning to pursue free agent guard Larry Warford. Warford will have to find work elsewhere as he seeks a deal worth $7MM per year.

Bears To Decline Mitchell Trubisky’s Fifth-Year Option

The Bears will not exercise Mitchell Trubisky‘s fifth-year option, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).

This will put the scrutinized former No. 2 overall pick in a contract year. Chicago acquired Nick Foles from Jacksonville this offseason. Although the Bears have liked Trubisky’s attitude since Foles’ arrival and are set to make this an open competition, per Pelissero, they are passing on extending his contract through 2021. This was the expected course of action, and the Bears are following through with it.

Because Trubisky was a top-10 pick, his option would have come in at $24.8MM. Based on the fourth-year quarterback’s track record, that price is quite lofty. While the Buccaneers and Titans respectively picked up Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota‘s options last year, the Bears are passing on their respective top-three draftee.

GM Ryan Pace pulled the trigger on a one-spot trade-up for Trubisky, climbing from No. 3 to No. 2 in 2017. At that point, Trubisky was viewed as a top-caliber prospect. But the one-year North Carolina starter has not lived up to expectations. The fact that Patrick Mahomes (pick No. 10) and Deshaun Watson (No. 12) have lapped the Bears starter has opened the door for endless scrutiny. Because Watson was picked 12th, his fifth-year option will come in at $17.5MM.

Trubisky regressed last season, finishing 28th in QBR. This prompted the Bears to bring in competition. They were close to an Andy Dalton trade before acquiring Foles later in March. The former Super Bowl LII MVP is viewed as the favorite to be Chicago’s starter this coming season. That would torpedo Trubisky’s value in free agency.

In 2018, Trubisky posted a 95.4 quarterback rating and threw for 24 touchdowns against 12 interceptions en route to a Pro Bowl nod (as an alternate). Last year, however, marked a step back. Trubisky threw 17 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions, and the Bears’ talented defense couldn’t make up for the offense’s shortcomings. The Bears went 8-7 in Trubisky’s 15 starts and finished .500 on the season, leaving them short of the postseason. Trubisky also battled hip and shoulder injuries, the latter requiring surgery.

Myles Garrett is the only member of 2017’s top five to see his fifth-year option exercised. Trubisky, 49ers defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette and Titans wideout Corey Davis are now on track for 2021 free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears To Decline Mitch Trubisky’s Option?

The Bears have kept mum on the situation, but league sources believe they will decline Mitchell Trubisky’s fifth-year option, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Currently, the 2021 add-on is projected to be north of $24MM.

Rumored to bring in a veteran to compete with Trubisky early this offseason, Chicago did so by acquiring Nick Foles from Jacksonville. The Super Bowl LII MVP figures to have a good chance of unseating the 2017 No. 2 overall pick as the Bears’ starting quarterback. Trubisky’s future in the Windy City became murky after GM Ryan Pace swung the Foles deal.

In 2019, Trubisky couldn’t stay healthy. Throughout the year, he was plagued with hip, shoulder, and other trouble. In the offseason, he went under the knife to fix the torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. The typical recovery time for the labrum surgery is around two months. Trubisky’s surgery took place sometime in January, so the Bears should have some read on his status before the fifth-year option date.

In 2018, the former North Carolina passer posted a 95.4 quarterback rating and threw for 24 touchdowns against 12 interceptions en route to a Pro Bowl nod. Last year, however, was a pretty big step back – he had just 17 TDs against ten INTs and the Bears’ talented D couldn’t make up for the offense’s shortcomings. The Bears went 8-7 in Trubisky’s 15 starts and finished .500 on the season, leaving them short of the postseason.

Trubisky’s name will always be linked to Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, the quarterbacks on whom the Bears passed three years ago. It is certainly possible Trubisky will not be part of the 2021 Bears.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Foles, Trubisky, Bears, Ifedi, Lewis, Giants

We heard earlier today that the Bears were planning an open quarterback competition between Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky, but that might not be entirely accurate. Both general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy insisted during a teleconference with the media that it would be a fair battle and even that Trubisky would take the first snaps whenever they hit the field for their first practices, but Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune is skeptical.

Trubisky is the incumbent and is being treated as such for now, but Biggs thinks the team is just paying lip-service to the former number two overall pick. “Short of the 31-year-old falling on his face or being injured,” it’s Foles’ job to lose, Biggs writes. It makes sense why Pace doesn’t want to admit defeat with Trubisky, considering he traded up to draft him so early in 2017. Biggs writes that it’s the inverse of the situation the Bears had in 2017, when Mike Glennon was technically the starter but everyone knew Trubisky would be taking over sooner rather than later. As of right now, Foles looks like a heavy favorite to be under center Week 1.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Speaking of the Bears, one big move they made this offseason was signing offensive lineman Germain Ifedi away from the Seahawks. The 2016 first-round pick played both tackle and guard extensively during his time in Seattle, and Chicago is planning to play him in side at guard Pace said, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Ifedi was a full-time starter the past few years with the Seahawks, but never lived up to his draft status.
  • Running back Dion Lewis agreed to sign with the Giants back on March 23rd, and now we’ve got the details. New York got a pretty good deal, as Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweets that Lewis received a one-year deal worth $1.55MM with nothing guaranteed. New Giants coach Joe Judge was with Lewis during their time with the Patriots. Lewis turns 30 in September but doesn’t have too much tread on his tires since he’s never been a workhorse back. Lewis signed a four-year, $20MM deal with the Titans in 2018, but lasted only two years in Tennessee after Derrick Henry emerged as the undisputed featured back. He should backup Saquon Barkley in 2020.
  • In case you missed it the Lions are likely looking to trade down from the third overall pick, and they could have their eye on Ohio State corner Jeff Okudah.