Discussion about the Bears retaining Mitchell Trubisky builds amid his meteoric rise from ignominy.
The demand for Trubisky to return to Chicago on a contract extension continues to swell.
What former Bears coach Dave Wannstedt once said of running back James Allen applies here: Let's not put him in the hall of fame just yet.
What Trubisky has done since returning as starter is exactly what he's done his entire Bears career. He's been beating teams incapable of beating the Bears defense when it's backed by an adequate running game and a few pass completions.
In fact, Trubisky hasn't done it as well this year as in other seasons because he fumbled away the easy win over Detroit.
He continues to commit red-zone turnovers at an alarming pace.
Talking on the NBC Sports Chicago postgame show Sunday, former Bears center Olin Kreutz said the Bears should try to bring back Trubisky:
"I think at the right price, I think for backup money, you make him an offer. You make him an offer that highly paid backups make and see if he takes it."
Kreutz is on the right track, but thinks too much of Trubisky.
The Bears should offer him one year at flat-rate backup money, not necessarily highly paid backup money.
Nothing Trubisky has done is beyond what most backups could do who will be available on the free-agent market.
Trubisky has been in the offense now three seasons and has yet to show he can beat playoff-caliber teams or successful teams. He only has the ability to beat weak or disinterested teams.
The teams Trubisky has quarterbacked the Bears to victories against under coach Matt Nagy have a combined record of 132 wins 225 losses and 5 ties.
Trubisky has beaten 23 teams as a starter under Nagy, not counting the win over Atlanta this year because he left trailing by 17 or the win in 2019 over Minnesota when he left injured on the first Bears series of a scoreless game.
Only four of those teams he beat had winning records and the Vikings in 2018 were as close to not being a winning team (8-7-1) as you can get without being one. Nor were they a playoff team.
In three seasons under Nagy, the only playoff-level teams Trubisky managed to beat were the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams in 2018 and last year's Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings used almost all subs on defense the entire game when he beat them in a season finale because they were going into last year's playoffs. When he beat the Seahawks in 2018 he had a passer rating of 83 with two interceptions and the defense carried him. When he beat the Rams that year, he threw three interceptions and his defense—then in a dominant state—carried him by picking off Jared Goff four times.
This habit of only being able to beat weaker teams hasn't changed this year, even if his passer rating since returning as starter is close to 100.
Trubisky beat the Texans (4-11), Vikings (6-9) and Jaguars (1-14).
The only good team he has played all season was Green Bay and he had a poor passer rating of 74.7, threw two ill-advised interceptions, fumbled away a TD and registered 126 of 242 meaningless passing yards after the Bears had already fallen behind 41-10.
Trubisky must prove he can be a winner against a winner.
"To get a win versus this team would be great but I don't think it is going to change the way Mitchell is for the possibility of the upcoming week after that," Nagy said Monday.
If he doesn't lead a victory, the only thing after that will be cleaning out lockers.
What is especially important is whether everything changes for Trubisky for next season.
If he doesn't beat Green Bay, the Bears are not likely to make the playoffs. The Cardinals aren't losing to a Rams team without their quarterback, so the Bears won't get into the playoffs through a back door.
The Bears then would need to move on because they could easily get the same kind of production Trubisky provides from a journeyman veteran backup signed for a league minimum, especially if they have him for all offseason to train in the offense.
Nick Foles might even be able to do this after he's had more time in the offense and a better run- and pass-blocking offensive line in front of him.
It's hard to believe a free agent like Cam Newton couldn't do it. There definitely is no real surplus of veteran free agents in the coming market who couldn't do the same,
Possibly if Washington were to cut Alex Smith for salary cap purposes, the Bears could sign him. He already knows the offense and even with a surgically repaired leg, and at age 37, he's mobile enough to run this offense or the preferred Matt Nagy attack.
This year's rise by Trubisky has been accompanied by a strong revival of the running game, and expecting this to continue against Green Bay's defense Sunday is almost like believing in the fantasy of Trubisky's great improvement.
If Trubisky wants more than a backup's salary, it's right there for him to take it.
All he has to do is prove he deserves it.
The Teams Mitchell Trubisky Beat
(Under Matt Nagy)
Tampa Bay 5-11
N.Y. Jets 4-12
Green Bay 6-9-1
San Francisco 4-12
NY Giants 4-12
**Does not include win over Minnesota when QB Chase Daniels played all but 6 plays.
N.Y. Giants 5-10
** Does not include win over Atlanta which Trubisky left trailing by 17 points.