Nick Foles

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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).

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NFC North Notes: Lions, Okudah, Foles

The Lions will have a major impact on how the quarterback dominoes fall in this year’s draft. Although they are unlikely to select a rookie signal-caller themselves with the No. 3 overall pick, they have long been rumored as a team that could trade down with another club that has a bigger QB need. And if standout Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young is off the board by the time Detroit is on the clock, Albert Breer of SI.com says the Lions will indeed be open for business, as they could move down to the No. 5 or No. 6 pick and still pick up an elite defender like Jeff OkudahIsaiah Simmons, or Derrick Brown.

However, both Breer and Justin Rogers of the Detroit News believe the Lions’ preference among the non-Young defenders is Okudah, who may be gone if Detroit trades back, and Rogers does not see an immediate fit for Simmons in the club’s defense. So unless the Lions are blown away by an offer, they could stand pat and select one of Young or Okudah.

Now for more from the NFC North:

  • New Bears quarterback Nick Foles restructured his contract after being traded to Chicago from Jacksonville, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com passes along a few more details on the restructure (Twitter link). Foles will earn $8MM in base salary over each of the three remaining years on his contract for a total of $24MM in salary, $21MM of which is guaranteed. Each of those three seasons also comes with an additional $6MM in available incentives, and for every dollar of incentives that Foles earns, his base salary for the following year increases (so if he earns $3MM of incentives in 2020, his salary in 2021 will increase from $8MM to $11MM).
  • As we heard previously, Foles will have the opportunity to void the 2021 or 2022 seasons if he meets certain performance thresholds, so as Rapoport notes in a separate tweet, the former Super Bowl MVP has landed jelly-side up despite a disappointing 2019 season with the Jags. He was paid $30MM for his one year in Jacksonville, keeps the guaranteed money from his Jaguars contract, and has the opportunity to hit free agency as soon as next year if he performs well with the Bears.
  • The Vikings have managed to carve out some salary cap space for themselves this offseason, and after setting aside the funds necessary to sign their 2020 draft class, they have about $8.4MM of space still available, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter). Tomasson says that the team is continuing to look at veteran cornerbacks, which makes sense given the mass CB exodus that Minnesota witnessed last month. Dre Kirkpatrick and Logan Ryan are among the top corners still available.
  • Tomasson adds that the Vikings are still looking into a Dalvin Cook extension, which echoes his report from several weeks ago.

AFC South Notes: Colts, Ngakoue, Titans

The Colts clearly made a quarterback upgrade a top priority this offseason. In addition to the research done on Philip Rivers and Tom Brady, and a Nick Foles trade inquiry with a division rival, the Colts looked into Andy Dalton. The Colts discussed Dalton with the Bengals, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets (video link). It is not clear how far the discussions progressed, but Rapoport suggests Dalton would have needed to agree to reduce his 2020 salary. The veteran quarterback is set to make $17.5MM in base salary. The Colts viewed Rivers as a better option than Foles, Rapoport adds, and may well have felt the same about the prospect of giving up assets for Dalton as opposed to paying Rivers $25MM.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • Yannick Ngakoue still wants out of Jacksonville. The franchise-tagged defensive end insists he wants a trade from the Jaguars because of issues with the franchise that do not involve money, the disgruntled defensive end tweets. The Jaguars fired executive VP Tom Coughlin late last season. Grievances came the Jags’ way due largely to Coughlin’s actions, and Jalen Ramsey expressed issues with the since-dismissed exec. Ngakoue still harboring ill will toward the franchise suggests he took issue with Jaguars staffers beyond Coughlin. Ngakoue left Jags OTAs last year, skipped minicamp and broke off extension talks with the organization. The Jags were believed to have taken the unusual step of offering Ngakoue a short-term deal. It appears he will be traded this offseason.
  • Logan Ryan remains a free agent, but it does not seem the door is closed on the veteran cornerback returning to Tennessee. The Titans have maintained talks with Ryan’s representation, Tennessee GM Jon Robinson said Wednesday. The last we heard on Ryan, the longtime starter was holding out hope for a $10MM-per-year offer. That being nearly two weeks ago points to Ryan maybe needing to settle for less.
  • Robinson expressed similar strategies regarding his team’s backup quarterback and backup running back situations. The Titans are not satisfied with these spots, though they are not ruling out respective promotions for Logan Woodside and Dalyn Dawkins. However, Robinson said the team will keep monitoring the free agent market and look in the draft for potential upgrades. The Titans released Dion Lewis, their complementary back of the past two years, and predictably let Marcus Mariota walk in free agency.
  • The Titans also will hold a kicking competition. They signed Greg Joseph off the Panthers’ practice squad last year and moved on from Ryan Succop this offseason, but Robinson adds that the team will bring in another kicker to vie for the job with Joseph. Tennessee kickers made a stunning eight field goals last season, going 8-for-18 on the season.

Bears QB Nick Foles Restructures Contract

Fresh off a trade to the Bears, quarterback Nick Foles has restructured his contract, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

The deal still has three years remaining and $21MM guaranteed. However, Foles now has the option to void the contract (depending on his performance) after either of his first two seasons in Chicago. Foles can presumably still earn upwards of $50MM over the next three years.

Earlier today, the Bears sent a compensatory fourth-round to the Jaguars for the former Super Bowl MVP. This offseason, the Bears had been looking for a challenger to former first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky, and Foles will give the 26-year-old a run for his money.

Jacksonville was 0-4 in Foles’ four starts last season, with the 31-year-old completing 65.8-percent of his passes for 736 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.

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