The Bears are off the hook.
Now they're on another hook.
The possible trade for Carson Wentz ended for the Bears when the Philadelphia Eagles agreed Thursday to trade their quarterback to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2021 third-round pick and conditional 2022 second-round pick, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
The trade leaves so many unanswered questions, like did the Bears pull away from the table simply because Wentz didn't want to come to Chicago and wanted to go to Indianapolis? This has been suggested in more than one report.
The Bears easily could have topped trade compensation the Colts gave, so it only makes sense they pulled away for a reason like this. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports and Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer say the Bears never made an official offer to the Eagles.
One possible benefit of all this for the Bears is they should be able to afford to retain wide receiver Allen Robinson because virtually all the other potential acquisitions they make will be far less costly against the 2021 cap.
The real question it leaves is what the Bears will do now for a quarterback. This is the other hook they're now on.
They've been rumored to have an interest in Derek Carr, although the Raiders haven't said they're necessarily interested in trading him unless it gives them enough compensation to trade for Deshaun Watson. Carr's contract is likely the only one which could make it difficult for the Bears to re-sign Robinson.
Sam Darnold is the hottest younger alternative who could be available, and the last report said the Jets had been contacted about their struggling starter by five teams. Darnold would be a potential rescue situation for the man who is supposed to be a quarterback whisperer, Matt Nagy.
The Bears could look to free agency, unless they have an interest in making an offer to Jacksonville for Gardner Minshew. He was a sixth-round pick and would be ideal for the Jaguars to retain as a starter until Trevor Lawrence is ready—and then as the backup for at least a couple years until his rookie deal ends. He's cheaper on his rookie contract, so it would need to be a really enticing offer to convince Jacksonville to give up an ideal situaiton.
They could trade for Marcus Mariota but GM Ryan Pace will look ridiculous, again. They could have had Mariota last year as a free agent without trading anything. Pace had coveted Mariota during the draft in 2016.
The one name for trade who shouldn't be thought about is Deshaun Watson because the Bears lack sufficient Day 1 draft picks for compensation. Too many teams who pick before them would be interested in Watson, too, and offering picks from years in the future doesn't entice as much.
There is always praying that Jerry Jones really doesn't like Dak Prescott as his future quarterback and won't tag him again. Of course he'll be signed or tagged.
The easier options for the Bears come in free agency and the draft.
They sign an adequate free agent passer to come in for a while as the rookie they select in the draft prepares to play.
Those cheaper free agent options:
- Veteran Ryan "Fitzmagic" Fitzpatrick. He does it and no one can figure out how, it's magic. And he's friends with Bears receivers coach Mike Furrey. But at age 38 next season, can he be mobile enough to operate the bootleg style of offense that worked for the Bears last year?This acquisition could signal the Bears are headed back to the offensive style they used before they went on a three-game winning streak last year.
- Jameis Winston. The Saints backup was a starter before who has crashed and burned and is high risk and high reward.
- Cam Newton. Mobile and capable of running RPO or bootleg styles, the problem here is he was bad in New England last year with a new team, has gotten older and if the Bears really wanted him they could have had him last offseason.
- Tyrod Taylor. A mobile starter who succeeded statistically in Buffalo for a losing team but hasn't really been more than a backup in three years.
- Mitchell Trubisky. Been there, done that.
Don't include Jacoby Brissette or Andy Dalton in this. Dalton didn't impress with the Cowboys in a backup role and isn't mobile while Brissette simply hasn't been starter quality.
There is one other real possibility but it's going to be slow to develop. It might even develop after June 1. Washington could release Alex Smith for cap purposes.
Matt Nagy makes a play for his old friend and it's Nick Foles and Smith together again like in Kansas City, this time as aging veterans who help train an eventual rookie replacement.
With so much uncertainty in the market place, this might be the best Bears option for 2021 if they want to maintain their cap situation while winning enough to satisfy ownership.