Bears general manager Ryan Pace faces an extremely difficult decision on the status of his hand-picked first-round quarterback, Mitch Trubisky. Pace must determine whether to exercise the Bears' fifth-year option in Trubisky's contract, which would provide Chicago with control over the fourth-year passer for at least one more season (through 2021) before deciding his longer-term fate.
Unfortunately, Trubisky hasn't made this process simple, unlike his draft classmates Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Trubisky's regression in 2019 has created serious doubt about whether he will ever become a franchise quarterback. The Bears may choose to move on sooner than later, so exercising the fifth-year option could represent more risk than reward for Pace. Trubisky's 2021 salary would become fully guaranteed if he suffers a serious injury in 2020.
Pace told reporters at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday that he's going to wait until May before deciding on that pesky fifth year; clearly, he isn't as sold on his Drew Brees-lite as he wants Bears fans to believe.
"We believe in him," Pace said Tuesday. "We’re going to support him. We’re going to be better around him. But I think competition brings out the best in everybody.”
There's no doubt Trubisky will have competition for the starting job this year via either a veteran free agent or early-round rookie, and it's a competition that will be even more fierce if it features Trubisky on the last year of his contract. In fact, it would be hard envisioning Trubisky winning the job as a lame duck.
Pace's decisions in free agency and the NFL draft will more than likely tip his quarterback hand, but until the deadline actually arrives in May, it'll be more of the same with Trubisky: just wait and see.