The Bears lost their fourth-straight game of the season after Sunday's 22-14 letdown against the Philadelphia Eagles, but what made matters worse was the shockingly poor performance from Mitch Trubisky and the offense during a first half that produced just nine yards. It was the worst 30 mins of offensive football the franchise has seen in 40 years.
Matt Nagy offered his usual post-game protection of Trubisky by suggesting the entire offense is to blame for the slow start and sloppy play, but it feels like that insurance policy is about to lapse. Each Bears loss brings them one step closer to elimination and, potentially, one step closer to a new quarterback.
According to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, it wouldn't be surprising at all if Chicago makes a change under center this offseason.
"When a team disappoints and struggles and has a year like they're on track to having, inevitably at the end of a year like that, someone always pays," Schefter said on ESPN 1000's Kap and Company. "Sometimes multiple people. But in this particular case I think the first guy you'd look at would be the quarterback. If this keeps up this is where that's going to be going. That's my guess."
Schefter, who predictably played both sides of the fence and suggested Trubisky still has time to turn his season around, said a player like Tennessee's Marcus Mariota would make sense if the Bears want to bring in competition instead of outright dumping the former No. 2 overall pick.
Mariota, like Trubisky, hasn't lived up to expectations with the Titans and needs a fresh start. Bears offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich coached Mariota at Oregon and is likely to champion him as an ideal addition to the roster. Mariota, who's 29-32 as a starter, is similar to former Chiefs and Redskins starter, Alex Smith, who operated Andy Reid's offense at a high level when Matt Nagy served as his quarterback coach.
But there may be an even higher-profile player on the market if the Bears decide to completely cut ties with Trubisky: Cam Newton.
According to Schefter, Newton's days as a Panther appear over.
"I'll be surprised if he plays again this year," Schefter said. "I think he'll surface elsewhere next year."
Newton is one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in recent NFL history, but injuries to his shoulder and now his foot have limited his effectiveness over the last couple of years. The unexpected rise of Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen has contributed to the odds Newton will have a new home in 2020.
Will he end up in Chicago? Schefter wouldn't speculate. But it's pretty clear that the NFL's most trusted insider has circled the Bears as one of the obvious quarterback destinations this offseason.