Bears general manager Ryan Pace might not say a lot, but he usually does a lot.
And that's worth remembering as you wait to see how he addresses the latest attempt to solve the Chicago Bears' never-ending quarterback problem.
This time around, there are many quarterback avenues for the Bears to explore, but there aren’t many that represent obvious upgrades at the position. And the ones that do will come at a hefty price.
"There's several (options that I’ll be comfortable with),” Bears head coach Matt Nagy said Tuesday. “There’s a lot of different what-ifs … If it's Quarterback X, Y or Z, including the guys that we discussed with Mitchell (Trubisky) and Nick (Foles), what do we do to get this thing better?”
Based on how Nagy handled Trubisky in 2020, it’s hard to believe the former 2017 No. 2 overall pick is one of those options, despite both the head coach and Bears general manager Ryan Pace declining to rule it out. And considering Trubisky played considerably better than Foles, the 32-year-old veteran doesn’t seem like a viable candidate to start the Week 1 opener either, even if he is under contract for two more years.
“Everything is on the table in regard to the quarterback situation and honestly that includes players on our current roster,” Pace said.
There’s very little Pace and Nagy could have said Tuesday to make Bears fans feel any sense of optimism about 2021. It’s obvious the fan base has had enough of the words and just wants to see action.
But the track record of action is why fans should feel optimistic that a significant move at the position will be made. Pace hasn’t always made the right moves, but he’s never been afraid to make the bold moves.
That can scare you or excited you, depending on how you want to look at it, but the organization has chosen its direction in 2021 and Pace and Nagy can’t afford to sit on their hands.
In reality, they’re doing the exact opposite. They might not have said much in Tuesday’s press conferences that replaced their typical NFL Combine availability, but they’ve been working at Halas Hall self-evaluating the offensive scheme and scouting all possible available quarterbacks that can help improve that scheme.
And yes, that includes Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson.
Both trade options might not seem realistic now, but there was a time that a trade for Khalil Mack didn’t seem realistic either.
“Back then, I leaned on (former Raiders GM) Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden and that relationship, that communication,” Pace said. “It just progresses and then eventually something that might not seem realistic at the time becomes a reality.”
Patience in these situations is key. But being ready for all possible scenarios is just as important. That’s why Pace and Nagy are evaluating all quarterback options – via trade, free agency and the NFL Draft – and coming up with contingency plans.
But the odd assumption that the Bears are going to be content going into the 2021 season with Foles as their starter doesn’t jive with Pace’s history. And the fact that Pace and Nagy were gifted a very important prove-it year only increases the probability that a significant move for a quarterback is on the horizon.
Of course, there will be limitations.
“We can’t be reckless. We’re always going to have our limits with every trade and that’s going to be individual based on the position and the player you’re talking about, of course,” Pace said. “You obviously have a lot of different things planned out with free agency and the draft and the last thing you want to do is put yourself or the team in a bad position where you get kind of stuck. So I think you have internal timelines based on the calendar year with free agency and the draft and you operate from that.”
The last thing Pace and Nagy want is to be “stuck” with a similar quarterback situation as 2020. Or 2019. Or really any year since 1985, for that matter. And that’s why far, far down the list of possibilities is Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky starting Week 1.
It’s significantly more likely the Bears make a much bigger move at the position.