After an up and down career with the Chicago Bears, QB Mitch Trubisky will hit free agency in 2021. While he did end the season on a higher note, it’s uncertain if it was enough to keep him in the Windy City. Depending on what happens with their head coach could speak volumes about Mitch Trubisky’s future.
As he heads into free agency, Mitch Trubisky will always live in the shadow of Watson and Mahomes
Is it fair to Mitch Trubisky that he will forever be judged against two of the best QBs to play (with one of them having a shot for the all-time crown)? No, probably not. But life isn’t fair, and the path the Chigaco Bears put him down has led to this moment.
The ongoing context of the 2017 NFL Draft QB class
Despite only starting one year at North Carolina, the Bears thought they had seen enough to warrant trading up to get Mitch Trubisky with the second-overall pick in 2017. Those who remember their history know that Patrick Mahomes went #10 to the Chiefs with Deshaun Watson, fresh off a national championship, going #12 to Houston.
The trajectories of these three could not be further apart. Trubisky has yet to pass for over 3,224 yards in his four seasons and has thrown for over 17 TDs only once (2018). During this time, Mahomes has 114 TDs and 13 fewer interceptions than Trubisky (24 to 37) and over 15,000 yards, with Watson just behind at 14,539 yards and 121 total TDs.
However, Mitch Trubisky does have something over them that neither can claim. He’s been benched once.
Alright, maybe that is a little harsh. At least Mitch Trubisky turned it around this season, right?
Mitch Trubisky was solid but only against bad teams in 2020
When we look at this late-season surge by the Bears, you see the 30+ points in four straight games and think that Mitch Trubisky might have finally gotten it together. I am not so sure about that. He just faced a ton of bad defenses this year.
Trubisky by the numbers
Five of Trubisky’s nine games came against teams in the bottom five in yards per attempt allowed. That’s twice against Detroit, Jacksonville, Houston, and Minnesota. He didn’t play a single team inside the top 10. Yet, Trubisky still finished as the 24th-ranked QB out of 35 qualified passers in yards per attempt.
Four of his games were against the bottom three teams in passer rating (Lions twice, Texans, and Jaguars). Minnesota and Atlanta were bottom 10, and he faced none inside the top 12. Trubisky was 20th of 35 QBs.
He averaged 20 of 30 passing for 205.5 yards with 1.6 TDs and 0.8 INTs per game. Those aren’t stats you keep around as your guy after four seasons.
The Bears have to decide on their head coach for 2021
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Bears are expected to retain Matt Nagy as their head coach.
They started 5-1, then lost six straight and but still managed to get a Wild Card matchup against the New Orleans Saints. If they keep Nagy around, he will have to decide if they want to bring Mitch Trubisky back or let him walk in free agency. The team already declined his fifth-year option back in May.
If they do even up hiring a new head coach, that would all but seal Trubisky’s fate as the new coach would want to build with his own players. None more important than the quarterback.
Where could Mitch Trubisky land during the 2021 free agency period?
Whatever decision the Bears plan to make on Mitch Trubisky will happen after the season ends. According to Peter Schrager of Fox Sports, no decision will be made until the offseason.
“I’m told both sides — player, his agent, team, their front office — they have decided not to discuss anything about Trubisky’s status next year until after this season.”
What are some potential teams that Mitch Trubisky could play for in 2021?
Could the Pittsburgh Steelers make a play for Mitch Trubisky in free agency?
Ben Roethlisberger’s career is winding down, and 2020 might very well be his final season in the NFL. With his final stop being in Canton, Ohio one day. The Steelers do not have the next QB on the roster. Mason Rudolph is not the answer, and a veteran on a championship-caliber team makes sense.
The question will be if the Steelers are willing to commit to someone like Mitch Trubisky. When you look at stability in the NFL, few teams value it more than Pittsburgh. It is not a team where they typically take “prove-it” deals with critical positions — both on the field and in the staff. Since 1969, they have only had three head coaches. Two of those three are in the Hall of Fame.
If the Steelers offer Mitch Trubisky a contract of any length, he should jump at the opportunity. They are full of talent on offense, even if JuJu Smith-Schuster leaves in free agency. The team can spend draft picks and upgrade the OL and find a replacement for Alejandro Villanueva.
The Indianapolis Colts could be a landing spot for Mitch Trubisky in free agency
They brought in Philip Rivers on a one-year, $25 million deal before the 2020 season, and his future is uncertain. The two likeliest options are he resigns or retires.
Indianapolis has a team that can compete with the best of the AFC and a defense that can keep them in games close. Jacoby Brissett will also become a free agent after the season ends, leaving 2020 draft pick Jacob Eason ad the next man up. He would reunite with Trey Burton at TE and have Michael Pittman, Parris Campbell, and potentially T.Y. Hilton to throw to if he re-signs. Add in Jonathan Taylor at RB, and the offense around Mitch Trubisky could be a compelling option for him in the 2021 free agency period.
New England is still searching for a quarterback heading into 2021 free agency
The Cam Newton experiment failed as the New England Patriots failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.
While the offense is lacking talent, the defense is still very good. The Patriots also had a league-high eight players opt out for the 2020 season, including safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
New England has the 15th spot in the draft and will use it to upgrade the offensive skill position. Top tight end prospect Kyle Pitts from Florida will be a home run if he is still on the board. Another option would be selecting one of the phenomenal wide receiver talents coming into the NFL. Either Alabama product Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith would step in and instantly become the team’s primary option. In his most recent mock draft, PFN draft analyst Nick Farabaugh had the Patriots taking Smith with the 15th overall pick.
A contract similar to what they gave Newton would make sense for Mitch Trubisky and allow them to find other free agency options as they attempt to take back the AFC East from the Buffalo Bills in 2021.
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