After a rollercoaster three years with the Chicago Bears, Pro Football Network Insider Ben Allbright is reporting that Mitchell Trusbisky may have to compete with a veteran this summer for the starting quarterback job. According to Allbright, the Bears are quietly interested in Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr and Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton, among others.
Bears are quietly looking at QB options.
Trubisky will still get the shot to be the guy, but much like Titans/Mariota last year, the leash is short.
They’d prefer vet ready-to-play, options. If Raiders were to move on from Carr ($21.5m cap hit vs $7.9 dead) theyd be interested.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) February 20, 2020
The 2020 NFL season would be the first time that Trubsky has faced true veteran competition since his rookie season. That year, he replaced Mike Glennon in Week 5, and since then has only missed games because of injury. In the past two seasons, Trubisky has had veteran QB Chase Daniels in camp, but Daniels was never viewed as true competition for Trubisky’s starting job.
That would not be the case if the Bears were to add Dalton or Carr, who have both been starters their entire NFL careers. According to Allbright, the expectation is that Trubisky would enter training camp as the starter but would be on a short leash if he won the starting job. For reference as to how the situation may play out, think of the Tennessee Titans and the Marcus Mariota/Ryan Tannehill situation.
Trubisky’s numbers leave the Bears little choice
The Bears have given their young quarterback, the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, every chance to succeed over the past three seasons. In 2018, they brought in an offensive head coach in former-Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. However, after three seasons, Trubisky’s numbers in the Bears offense remain mediocre at best.
2018 appeared to show a glimpse of development, with Trubisky throwing 24 touchdowns and completing 66.6% of his passes. However, in 2019, despite playing more games, Trubisky threw for just 17 touchdowns, completing 63.2% of his passes for an unimpressive 3,138 yards.
According to Pro Football Network’s Offensive Share Metric, Trubisky performed well in 2019 without ever really excelling. His 22.14 grade is considered to be a good performance but did place him 18th at the QB position. While he finished just one place behind Kansas City Chiefs QB and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, it’s important to note that Mahomes played a portion of the 2019 season clearly hampered, while Trubisky was relatively healthy.
Are Carr and Dalton serious threats to Trubisky’s job?
Both Carr and Dalton would bring plenty of experience with them if they land in Chicago. It would also be an interesting storyline as Carr would be reunited with linebacker Khalil Mack, who was traded to the Bears in 2018, just days before the season kicked off.
Carr is a six-year starter in Oakland, having missed just two games since being drafted in the second round in 2014. During that time, his performances have fluctuated, but his numbers have always been solid.
Since his rookie season, he has thrown for a minimum of 3,400 yards and has only ever thrown less than 20 touchdowns once in his career. In each of the last two seasons, he has completed more than 68% of his throws with over 4,000 passing yards in each season, while totaling 40 touchdowns. However, according to PFN’s OSM, he ranked 26th among quarterbacks in 2019, which suggests he may not be an upgrade over Trubisky.
Dalton would bring nine years of experience as a starting quarterback. However, his performances have also fluctuated throughout his career, and he has a tendency to be more turnover prone than either Carr or Trubisky. Dalton’s career interception percentage is 2.7 compared to 2.3 and 1.9 for Trubisky and Carr, respectively.
However, Dalton also potentially carries the highest upside with higher touchdown percentage and yards per attempt numbers than either Carr or Trubisky. Additionally, despite being benched in 2019 for rookie Ryan Finley, Dalton ranked 12th among QBs according to OSM, with a 24.66 grade. With the Bengals locked in on a quarterback with their first pick (Joe Burrow, perhaps?), Dalton will likely be traded or released.
Is the Tannehill effect swaying the Bears?
General Manager Ryan Pace and the brain trust at Halas Hall can look to another team in the NFL to see how this might play out if they were to bring in a veteran quarterback to challenge Trubisky. In 2019, the Tennessee Titans traded for QB Ryan Tannehill as competition for incumbent starter Marcus Mariota.
While Mariota opened the season as the starter, Tannehill replaced him during a disastrous Week 6 game before leading the Titans all the way from a 2-4 start to the AFC Championship Game. Tannehill was so impressive in 2019 that he finished as the #1 QB according to OSM with a grade of 34.36.
While Carr and Dalton may not have the ceiling that Tannehill is viewed to have, both would provide fascinating competition for Trubisky while also being able to step in either in the case of injury or poor performance from Trubisky. And if the Bears can’t trade for Derek Carr or Andy Dalton, expect them to look for a veteran quarterback in free agency.