Bears

Add Cam Newton to the list of potential replacements for Mitch Trubisky in 2020

Add Cam Newton to the list of potential replacements for Mitch Trubisky in 2020

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.

Bears not among 8 teams in attendance at Colin Kaepernick's workout

Bears not among 8 teams in attendance at Colin Kaepernick's workout

So much for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick throwing in front of 25 teams in a workout orchestrated by the NFL on Saturday in Atlanta.

Instead, he ran through a 40-minute session at Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia, and only eight teams were there: Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, and Tennessee Titans.

No Ryan Pace. No Bears.

The bizarre twists and turns in what was supposed to be a formal private workout for the one-time 49ers' star have been hard to keep up with. But one thing is certain: At this point in the regular season, it seems like an awfully distracting proposition to consider adding Kaepernick the Chicago's roster.

"I've been ready for three years,'' Kaepernick said, via ESPN. "I've been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here. [I] showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So we're waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them stop running. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people.

"We're out here. We're ready to play. We're ready to go anywhere. My agent, Jeff Nalley, is ready to talk any team. I'll interview with any team at any time. I've been ready.''

The originally scheduled workout was derailed over Kaepernick's camp changing the language of the liability waiver players sign before participating in private workouts. They wanted the workout open to the media, too, something the league refused to allow.

"We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout," the NFL said in its statement Saturday. "He informed us of that decision at 2:30 pm today along with the public. Today's session was designed to give Colin what he has consistently said he wants -- an opportunity to show his football readiness and desire to return to the NFL. Twenty-five (25) clubs were present for the workout, and all 32 clubs, their head coaches, general managers, and other personnel executives would have received video footage of the interview and workout."

The NFL said the rewritten liability waiver provided by Kaepernick's representatives was "insufficient" and that although the league had agreed to allow Kaepernick's representatives on the field for the workout, it would remain mostly private. 

The disagreement over the workout's particulars isn't overly surprising. It was an odd situation to begin with considering the NFL was controlling the "who" and the "how" of the event. You can't fault Kaepernick for wanting some say in it all, especially since he's been waiting three years for the opportunity.

And even though he didn't get the chance to showcase his skills in front of as many teams as advertised, Kaepernick still made a positive impression on the field.

Where this all leads is anyone's guess. But it doesn't appear it will end in Chicago. 

How Tua Tagovailoa's injury will impact Bears' quarterback situation

How Tua Tagovailoa's injury will impact Bears' quarterback situation

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a devastating season-ending hip injury late in the first half of  Saturday's game against Mississippi State, one that likely marks the end of his career as a member of the Crimson Tide. 

Next stop: NFL.

"Tua Tagovailoa sustained a right hip dislocation that was immediately reduced at the stadium," Alabama Team Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain said in a statement following the game. "He is undergoing further testing to determine the best course of treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery but will miss the remainder of the season."

As Dr, Lyle pointed out, Tagovailoa is expected to make a full recovery. His timetable to return is unknown, but it's at least a positive sign that his team of doctors is optimistic about his future.

The harsh reality, however, is that Tagovailoa's injury is going to have a significant impact on his 2020 NFL draft stock, which before Saturday seemed like a top-five lock. After suffering ankle injuries in back-to-back seasons and now a disastrous hip injury, teams selecting in the top 10 will be extremely careful before hinging the future of their franchise on a player with major medical red flags.

And while the Bears were never in the mix to draft Tagovailoa, they will be in the quarterback market this offseason assuming Mitch Trubisky continues to struggle down the stretch. Tagovailoa's injury will make it more difficult for Chicago to land a veteran free agent who prior to Saturday may not have been on a team like the Dolphins' wish list.

That's all changed now.

If Miami had planned for Tagovailoa to be 'the guy' in 2020, their objective in free agency would've been to sign a veteran who can serve as an extra coach in the meeting room rather than a threat for reps on the field. But with Tagovailoa's health now a huge question mark, the Dolphins may not have a choice but to add a player like Cam Newton or Marcus Mariota who can come in and start not only in 2020, but for the foreseeable future as well.

The Bears aren't going to find their 2020 starting quarterback in the draft. If it isn't Trubisky, it has to be a veteran who has a resume of production that can take advantage of a championship window because of the talent on defense. But the price has to be right, and even adding just one team into the free-agent bidding war can have a massive impact on whether Ryan Pace is able to land his guy at his price.

Remember: It's not just the Dolphins whose draft and free agency plans will be impacted by Tagovailoa's injury. Quarterback prospects like Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts and Georgia's Jake Fromm could get pushed up the draft board because they have cleaner medicals or because teams realize they can't assume next year's prospect pool will offer them the answer they're looking for.

Tagovailoa's injury proves there's no such thing as a long-term strategy in a sport where one play can completely derail the best-laid plans. The club that may be eyeing Clemson's Trevor Lawrence in 2021 could choose to snag Oregon's Justin Herbert instead simply because he's healthy and available.

As a result, a run on quarterbacks might occur before the Bears are ever on the clock. That, combined with the free-agent market getting more expensive, could turn one hip injury into another season of Trubisky or bust in 2020.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.