Mitchell Trubisky

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.

Bears To Have Open QB Competition

It may not come as much of a surprise given the team’s trade for Nick Foles and his sizable contract, but Bears GM Ryan Pace has declared that there will be an “open competition” between Foles and incumbent Mitchell Trubisky for the starting quarterback job (Twitter link via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune).

Those were probably not easy words for Pace to say, as he famously gave up a good deal of draft capital in the 2017 draft to move up one spot — from No. 3 overall to No. 2 overall — for the right to select Trubisky. After a disappointing rookie campaign, Trubisky seemed to be coming into his own with a quality sophomore effort in which he posted a 95.4 quarterback rating and threw for 24 touchdowns against 12 interceptions en route to a Pro Bowl nod.

But Pace’s vindication would be short-lived, as Trubisky had just 17 TDs against ten INTs in 2019, 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. To be fair, Trubisky did battle through a number of injuries, but Chicago still thought it was necessary to bring in legitimate veteran competition for its fourth-year signal-caller.

Foles, meanwhile, signed a four-year, $88MM deal with the Jaguars last March after leading the Eagles on a legendary ride to a Super Bowl title at the end of the 2017 season and more playoff heroics following the 2018 campaign. Unfortunately, he broke his clavicle in the first game of the 2019 season and did not play well enough after returning from injury to keep his job over sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew. The 31-year-old is not as good as he looked during his Super Bowl run but is better than his disappointing effort in Jacksonville, and even competent QB play may be enough to get Chicago back to the postseason.

The Bears still have a decision to make on Trubisky’s fifth-year option, the deadline for which is next month, but Pace said he is not yet ready to make that call (Twitter link via Biggs). Per head coach Matt Nagy, Trubisky will be the first QB in the huddle whenever the team reconvenes, but the competition will be transparent and honest and the players will split reps equally (Twitter links via Biggs).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Expected To Add Trubisky Competition

The 2019 Titans advanced to the AFC championship game largely because of a quarterback addition they made in the offseason. The Bears appear to have a similar blueprint in mind.

After three seasons of uneven play from Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears are expected to bring in competition. This year’s Combine has produced a “strong sense” Chicago will add a veteran quarterback to push the former No. 2 overall pick, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets.

Bears GM Ryan Pace has said Trubisky will be the starter entering this season, but like Marcus Mariota last year, he could face a veteran to keep the job. The Bears remain uncertain on Trubisky’s fifth-year option as well.

The team has been linked to Andy Dalton, who remains close to new Bears OC Bill Lazor. The latter was Dalton’s coordinator from 2017-18 and his position coach in 2016, and the longtime Cincinnati starter “loved” playing for him. Expected to draft Joe Burrow at No. 1 overall, the Bengals are willing to work with Dalton on a trade.

This year’s free agency class includes some of the biggest names to ever hit the open market. Tom Brady and Philip Rivers are unattached. The Bears have not been connected to either, but Chicago has fielded one of the NFL’s better defenses for years now. That would appeal to a championship-seeking quarterback. Ryan Tannehill and Jameis Winston also are free agents-to-be, though they are franchise tag possibilities in Tennessee and Tampa.

Other potential UFA options include Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum. Although Matt Rhule said he wanted to retain Cam Newton, a new regime inheriting an injury-prone quarterback in a contract year points to the 2015 MVP being available for the right offer as well. The Bears’ lack of a first-round pick limits their trade options, with their second- and third-rounders then becoming more critical improvement avenues. However, with Khalil Mack set for his age-29 season and Akiem Hicks turning 31 in 2020, this Bears defensive nucleus is running short on time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Still Mulling Mitchell Trubisky’s Option

The Bears have until May to decide on whether to trigger Mitchell Trubisky‘s option for the 2021 season. They’ll wait until then to make the call, according to GM Ryan Pace (Twitter link via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune).

The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only. In 2019, it seemed like Trubisky was dealing with nothing but injuries. Throughout the year, he was plagued with hip, shoulder, and other trouble and he recently 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, Trubisky 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 has shown promise since being selected No. 2 overall in 2017 and good quarterbacks are hard to find; the expectation remains that they’ll pick up his option. Still, it’s not a sure thing. In the past, the Bears have made these fifth-year option calls well in advance of the deadline, so their delay is telling. The Bears, at minimum, will explore their options during the early stages of free agency and possibly dig into some of this year’s top passers in the April draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Surgery For Bears’ Mitch Trubisky

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky underwent surgery to repair the partially torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder shortly after the end of the season, ESPN.com’s Jeff Dickerson tweets. The typical recovery time for the procedure is around two months, which means that Trubisky should be ready to go well before training camp gets underway. 

[RELATED: Bears To Sign CFL CB Tre Roberson]

Although it’s not as serious as, say, surgery for his right shoulder, it’s a situation worth monitoring. Trubisky is coming off of a rocky year and even though the Bears intend on moving forward with him as their top QB, the issue could prompt the Bears to spend on a veteran backup.

There’s also the matter of Trubisky’s fifth-year option. The 2017 first-round pick can be cuffed through the 2021 season at a rate of $25MM, guaranteed for injury only. The Bears, at this point, are expected to trigger that option by the May 5th deadline, but a hitch in Trubisky’s recovery could give them pause.

The shoulder wasn’t Trubisky’s only injury in 2019, there was also a hip injury and other maladies along the way. All in all, Trubisky threw for 3,138 yards with 17 touchdowns against ten interceptions – a pretty big step back from his strong 2018 Pro Bowl showing. The Bears went 8-7 in Trubisky’s 15 starts and went 8-8 on the year, falling short of the playoffs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Okung, Trubisky, Bucs

Chargers left tackle Russell Okung intends to run for NFLPA president, sources tell Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. This development is notable because, while CBA negotiations between the owners and the union have been progressing smoothly thus far, Okung is said to be vehemently opposed to a 17-game schedule and is open to a work stoppage in order to get the best possible deal for the league’s players.

The 17-game schedule may be the last major sticking point holding up a new CBA, but if a new agreement is not in place by the time current union president Eric Winston’s term expires in March, and if Okung were to be elected, negotiations could stall. Winston cannot be re-elected because he hasn’t played for the past two seasons.

A recent NFLPA investigation revealed that Okung gathered and disseminated confidential information in violation of the union’s constitutions and by-laws, but Okung denies those allegations.

Now for more news and notes from around the league:

  • On Monday, the Fritz Pollard Alliance issued what Florio calls the strongest statement it has made since the Rooney Rule was promulgated. The statement reads in part, “[w]e were painfully reminded through this past hiring cycle that attaining diverse leadership in the NFL can only happen through the willful actions of the team owners and decision makers. The abysmal record of hiring people of color in high ranking levels of NFL management is a reminder of the dark periods of civil rights history. The League has only one African-American General Manager. There are no African-American club presidents.” The Redskins hired a minority when they tabbed Ron Rivera as their new head coach, but the Fritz Pollard Alliance believes worthy minority candidates like Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy continue to get overlooked.
  • Mike Sando of The Athletic takes a look into the upcoming fifth-year option decisions that teams will have to make on their 2017 first-rounders. The entire piece is worth a read, and it’s notable that most of Sando’s sources believe the Bears will exercise the $25MM option on QB Mitchell Trubisky.
  • The Buccaneers worked out cornerback Tre Roberson, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Roberson, who played quarterback in college and who was last with an NFL team in September 2017, recorded seven interceptions for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders this year. Recent reports suggested that Roberson would be back in the NFL in 2020 and that over 10 teams were interested in the converted signal-caller.