If the news coming out of Green Bay is correct, it's possible the Bears are about to have the best quarterback in the NFC North.
It might not even matter if it's Justin Fields or Andy Dalton, but it probably does.
It still seems a stretch to argue this, but what is certain is the Bears match up far better against every single team in their own division now if Rodgers isn't playing. Having lost 21 of the last 26 times they face Rodgers doesn't give the Bears the right to ever think they have superiority over him.
According to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, the Green Bay offered Aaron Rodgers a two-year contract extension during this offseason that would have made him the highest-paid player in the NFL and tied him to the team for five years.
If Rodgers was unwilling to take such an offer, then it's very easy to envision Green Bay reporting for camp next week without Rodgers available. He'd be fined $50,000 a day then, according to Bill Huber of Packer Central. That's pocket change if you can turn down a contract making you the highest-paid player in the league.
Packers Pulled Down a Few Pegs
Without Rodgers, Green Bay could be left with entirely inexperienced Jordan Love and he wasn't even the team's backup last year.
This would be assuming the Packers follow through on their stance that they will not trade Rodgers. If they did, they might get a better quarterback back in exchange than Love is at this point in his career.
It might take a bit to get the new quarterback caught up on the offense.
Andy Dalton's experience edge would put him ahead of Love, and Fields' talent level has been judged by most as well ahead of Love's coming into their drafts. Fields threw 67 touchdown passes and nine interceptions facing better athletes in the Big Ten and SEC, while Love had 60 TD passes and 29 interceptions at Utah State of the Mountain West.
Kirk Cousins' Nemesis
The Vikings and Lions both have veteran quarterbacks, and it would be difficult to say straight up the Bears are better at the position than Minnesota. Detroit's Jared Goff ranks better than Dalton at this point, as well.
However, the Rams practically gave away Goff as trade a throw-in when they gave up on him. So, this remains debatable.
What is certain is both Cousins and Goff have each had a difficult time matching up against the Bears defense.
Cousins has a 1-4 record against the Bears as Vikings starter, with the win coming last year at Soldier Field when the Bears had no legitimate starting running back available due to David Montgomery's concussion. The Bears also had Nick Foles at quarterback in that one.
Cousins never beat the Bears in the four games Mitchell Trubisky started against him. Trubisky didn't finish one of those. Chase Daniel outplayed Cousins on that day.
Cousins' passer rating with Minnesota against the Bears is a pedestrian 88.8. He is 126 of 186 for 1,190 yards and seven touchdowns with four interceptions. Whether it's because he holds the ball too long or the Vikings line is has been porous, he has been sacked 16 times in those five starts against the Bears.
Jared Goff's Inconsistency
The new Lions quarterback is no Matthew Stafford, but Stafford hasn't take a team to the Super Bowl like Goff, either.
Like Cousins, Goff hasn't exactly excelled against the Bears defense. The Rams won two out of three against the Bears the last three seasons, but Goff only enjoyed one strong game and was completely putrid in the other two.
The Rams had a strong overall team in 2018 when the Bears defense overwhelmed them 15-6. Goff threw four interceptions in that game against the Vic Fangio defense and this year the Bears have gone back to the Fangio style of defense under Sean Desai. Goff struggled against the Bears again in 2019, although Trubisky struggled even more in that one.
Goff has a passer rating of 68.4 against the Bears with two touchdown passes, five interceptions and 773 yards on 54 of 95 throws. This was playing in a well-established Rams offense behind a good offensive line.
The Lions believe they have a good line, as well. Arguing they have overall offensive talent on par with the Rams is silliness.
Not Best ... Yet
Add all of this together, and the Bears can't say they have the best quarterback in the division until Fields takes over and establishes a presence.
What they can say is that without Rodgers around, there is no quarterback who wins a matchup flat out against the Bears defense and the Bears finally do have two quarterbacks who can give them a better chance against any NFC North team.
Then revisit all of this once Fields becomes the starter.