He might not be the long-term answer in Chicago, but you can never have too many options at quarterback. Sticker shock? Get over it
Do I have a problem with the Bears’ signing Mike Glennon?
Yeah, I do. Just one: They were bidding against themselves. The Bills were interested, and the Jets were too. But those teams saw him, at best, as a $10 million-per-year player, and once Chicago’s Brinks truck pulled into Glennon’s driveway, the two AFC East rivals high-tailed it out of the house: Buffalo back into Tyrod Taylor’s waiting arms, and New York back to the quarterback market.
From a negotiating standpoint, the Bears paid more than they had to, and more than the market said they should, and that’s not an ideal result.
You know what? You need to get over the sticker shock.
“It’s not a huge number anymore,” said one NFC general manager.
Glennon received a three-year, $45 million deal to leave Tampa for Chicago. There’s $19 million guaranteed, which means the Bears can feasibly bail after a year. The end result puts him right in between how the Jets compensated Ryan Fitzpatrick ($12 million APY, one year guaranteed) and how the Texans paid Brock Osweiler ($18 million APY, two years guaranteed).
There are 22 quarterbacks who entered this week on deals for 2017 averaging more than $16 million per year. Some names will come off that list in the coming days (Tony Romo, Jay Cutler) and others will go on it later this offseason (Derek Carr), but the fact remains that Glennon’s APY actually marks him as a below-average starting quarterback.
From a practical standpoint, what the Bears have done is categorically not crazy, provided you’re OK with the idea of Glennon as a starting quarterback in the NFL. And here’s the twist: This shouldn’t stop the Bears from doing anything else that they were planning to do at the position, including drafting a quarterback with the third overall pick.
That’s why I don’t hate what they’re doing here, at least conceptually.
Let’s say the Bears take Deshaun Watson with the third pick. Last year’s third pick, Joey Bosa, is on a deal worth $6.47 million per year. Account for inflation and say Watson’s slotted deal is worth $7 million per year. Add that to the $15 million per year for Glennon, and the Bears have $22 million APY allotted at the position.
Without any free-agent signings or draft picks having been made, that would rank the Bears No. 10 in the NFL for spending at the position. Chicago could make the call on whether to carry a third quarterback or not, and still fall further down the list after the offseason is done.
So add it up, and not only is Glennon’s deal below average for a starting quarterback in the NFL, they could add a top-five pick at the position and still land outside the top 10 in the financial resources they’re committing to signal-callers. Meanwhile, there’d be little pressure to play Watson, who could benefit from sitting. If Glennon pans out, you’ll have a decision to make down the line.
There’s no such thing as too much when it comes to getting it right at quarterback. Just look at the decision the Eagles made last year. They paid Sam Bradford. They paid Chase Daniel. They traded up twice to get Carson Wentz. In the end, it created a logjam. So they dealt Bradford. And now, they’re settled at QB for the foreseeable future. It was all worth it.
For now, we can try to answer the question of the day: Who, exactly, is Glennon?
“I’d take Glennon over Osweiler in a heartbeat,” said our NFC GM. “He won’t do it himself, but if he has people around him, he’s got a chance. And that’s three-quarters of the league at quarterback. He has talent, he’s smart, he’s tough enough, for sure. He got the crap beaten out of him [in 2013 and ’14], and he kept coming back. He never dropped his eyes. He stood in there and threw it.
“I think, because he’s young, he could be a long-term answer.”
The pro scouting director for another NFC team studied Glennon earlier this week and said, “His tape is actually pretty good. He’s accurate and has good arm strength. He’s still a guy that’s going to need playmakers around him, but after watching him, he’ll be more ready to step in and play than any rookie. I’d put him just below the Andy Dalton [class of quarterback].”
If you’re a Bears fan, that probably won’t send you to the team’s website for season tickets, and it certainly won’t win the day on Chicago sports radio. (Imagine how bad the backlash will be if Glennon is a complete dud.) But if it’s part of a larger plan to throw big resources at finding the kind of quarterback who could change the narrative on John Fox and Ryan Pace’s rebuild, then it’s hard to say that the move is that ridiculous.
If, that is, you accept that the threshold for ridiculous simply isn’t what it once was at this position.
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