I had a partial draft written about this from like a month ago, but got caught up doing real world things, and then by the time I revisited it basically everyone and their mother offered up an opinion on what the Bears should do at quarterback, so I scrapped it. But now here we are, almost a week after the Super Bowl, without much to talk about until the front office starts making some moves, so I figured I might as well add my voice to the cacophony of arm-chair GMs.
- I’d keep Jay Cutler, but that’s almost certainly not happening. I know I’m in the minority here, but unless Ryan Pace absolutely believes he has a day one starter waiting for him via trade, free agency, or the draft, I think the best quarterback currently on the roster should stay. Cutler’s contract is nowhere near the monstrous burden many make it out to be, and I think a healthy Jay could do a lot with the solid offensive line and robust defense I expect the Bears to have next year. However, absolutely every indication from every source says that Cutler and the Bears will be parting ways this offseason, and I’ve been going under the assumption that he won’t be in Chicago for a while now. (Also, in this scenario of keeping Jay, I still go out and draft a young QB. In no way do I think Cutler is a longterm solution in Chicago.)
- I’ve boarded the Garoppolo train. I’m not a Jimmy G. super-fan or anything at this point, but again, if the Bears are looking for someone who can be ready to be QB1 the first game of the season, I think they have a much better chance of finding that from a guy who is already in the league. I haven’t seen anyone pop out in the draft class so far that makes me think they wouldn’t need a fair amount of development. Out of all the potential quarterbacks available, Garoppolo would be my first pick. He’s still quite young at 25, and was a top prospect coming out of EIU. Also, while I know lots of players have left New England and had little to no success outside that system, being backup to the greatest quarterback of all time must have taught Garoppolo a thing or two about what it takes to be a championship caliber player in the NFL. Among other options Tony Romo obviously has the most proven talent of any available QB, but it’s hard not to worry that his body can no longer withstand the normal wear and tear of a full NFL season. I also find Kaepernick an intriguing option, but unfortunately I think his politics are too controversial for this Bears team (and probably most of the NFL).
- Regarding draft QBs, I think Watson is my favorite. Take this with a grain of salt, and like you would the opinion of someone musing drunkenly at the bar. I’m not a scout, and haven’t watched near enough game tapes on these guys to offer any kind of expert opinion, but from what I have seen of Watson, he beats out Trubisky, Kaaya, and Kizer for me (though Trubisky is probably a close second). His poise during the National Championship impressed me, and I do think he possesses some of those intangible qualities that makes a guy a natural leader. On the other hand, he’s a little on the small side, and his accuracy leaves something to be desired. But like I said, as of right now, no one available in this year’s draft has piqued my interest in any significant way.
- I trust Ryan Pace to make a good decision. At the end of the day this decision falls squarely on Ryan Pace’s shoulders. While obviously Bears fans haven’t been happy with the win/loss record the first two seasons of the Pace/Fox era, I think there’s a lot to be optimistic about for next season. Much of that stems from the fact that Pace has made some real quality draft picks and free agency signings. He also appears to have a good eye for what translates a successful college quarterback into a successful professional one, as his evaluation and appreciation for Marcus Mariota was spot on. Pace doesn’t seem like the guy who will reach for a QB just because he feels pressure to do so. I trust he’ll make a thorough, well-thought-out decision about what is best for Chicago at this crucial position.