There really is a Twilight Zone after all, and the Chicago Bears are caught in it.
Or maybe it's like Groundhog Day, the Bears caught in the same trap over and over. It's a simple concept and one very familiar to Bears fans for years.
They haven't been able to come up with a quarterback. They need one, but there always seems to be something causing them to miss out. Either they don't recognize the player or the best option is just beyond their grasp. Rince and repeat. It's gone on since the end of the 1980s.
In 2017, of course it was the trade up for Mitchell Trubisky when all they had to do was the no-brainer and take either Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes. In particular, Watson was the tough one to stomach because many teams had doubts about Mahomes but Watson had winner stamped all over his forehead.
They constantly are looking and can't come up with one, and this brings you to this offseason.
The quarterback everyone wants, of course, is Deshaun Watson. If he is available, the Bears sure can't have him because so many other teams can offer draft pick packages far more lucrative. There is no denying this statement. It is absolute truth.
The best they might be able to do is trade a couple of first-round picks for Derek Carr because reports have it the Raiders want Watson themselves and they need four first-round picks to wow the Texans. The trouble is, this entire premise is based on an assumption that might not even be true—that the Texans will even trade Watson to the Raiders.
Without that deal there is no Carr to the Bears, and it's questionable whether Carr is worth two first-round picks considering how little he's been able to accomplish with the Raiders. At some point, a quarterback must elevate a team.
The Bears could have probably topped the Colts' offer of a third and a second for Carson Wentz, but in a year when there are quarterbacks available they have no salary cap money to acquire the best ones. Certainly he would have been the next-most talented available but fitting in a ridiculously high contract was going to destroy offseason plans for their cap anyway.
They wanted Matthew Stafford, but he's from within the division so the Lions weren't about to deal with them.
They haven't had draft picks in Round 1 since 2018 and badly need to start bringing in first-round talent instead of trading away picks. So using them to trade for any quarterback is a real killer.
Free agency in recent years has offered up plenty of viable options but wouldn't you know it, the best who might be in free agency this year are retread guys like Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor or Ryan Fitzpatrick. It's not exactly a banner crop like last year's free agency was.
Drafting Their Way Out
The other solution is always going to the draft in Round 1. It's risky for a team which supposedly needs to win right away, but it's something any team needs to do every few seasons. The Bears haven't done it since 2017 so they're overdue.
And guess what? They're situated in the draft right where they would have a difficult time landing any of the top four, and possibly even the top five quarterbacks.
The best they could hope for is someone slips back in Round 1 and falls back to No. 20. That would be real slippage.
It happens to be a year when the difference between those first five quarterbacks and the next one is large, just enough so if they wanted Florida's Kyle Trask in Round 2, they can't even be sure he'd be there without a trade because he might get taken somewhere ahead of them.
No matter which way they go and which way they turn, they seem to be blocked from escaping this zone of quarterback frustration.
In the end, it's difficult to say but all roads could lead back where it all started. It truly could be Ground Hog Day with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles as starters.
It's checkmate. Wherever the Bears go in this offseason, there seems to be no way to win at quarterback.
Maybe to get out of the mess, they simply go with it. Load up the running game as much as possible by drafting a pair of tackles, if not three of them. Christian Darrisaw of Virginia Tech in Round 1 and Florida's Stone Forsythe later on. Forsythe is 6-foot-7, 329 pounds and would be ideal at right tackle with that size.
They should fortify their run blocking at tight end by trying to sign free agent Virgil Green after cutting Jimmy Graham.
In an earlier round of the draft, they could possibly select running back Javonte Williams of North Carolina to be the alternate back to David Montgomery.
The Bears don't want to get caught like last year, with no running back available against the Vikings due to injury and Ryan Pace's inability to bring in a real backup runner. They need a real backup to Montgomery.
Then run it. Make them stop the run. It's been the way the Bears won in the past, and would definitely not be Matt Nagy's choice of ways to do it. But without a quarterback available, it's possibly the best alternative to win in 2021.
At this point anything is worth trying to get out of the quarterback Twilight Zone.