Consider this quote from Ryan Pace's end-of-season press conference on December 31:
"Mitch is our starter. We believe in Mitch, and we believe in the progress that he’s gonna continue to make. But two of the three players in that room are free agents, so we’ve gotta look at- The quarterback room is critical. It’s important for us."
This next one's from April 3 in regards to Trubisky's fifth-year option – one that the Bears have to decide on by May 4:
"That’s something we’re not gonna comment on right now. We’ll discuss it when we get closer to that point. We’ve got until May to make that comment. We’ll talk about it as we get closer to that date.”
And lastly, here's Pace's comment from Tuesday's pre-draft availability, two weeks away from that May deadline:
“Right now our focus is all on the draft. We know we have until May 4 on that, and we’ll cross that bridge once we get through this weekend.”
Stalling on a quarterback decision like this could be described in any number of ways, but subtle isn't one of them. The worn-out line about Ryan Pace has always been about watching what he does, not what he says. In that regard, look no further than trading a fourth-round pick for Nick Foles, then guaranteeing him $24 million. But at this point, you can probably watch what he says, too. Just ask Kyle Long; Mitch Trubisky's time in Chicago is coming to an end.
Trubisky's option, if picked up, would cost the Bears around $24 million. That's a whole bunch of cash tied up in a player who's riding the bench, though it is only guaranteed for injury. If bringing in Foles last month was a warning shot to Trubisky, bringing someone else in this weekend may be the final straw.
"If a quarterback was there and he was the highest guy on our board in a strong way, we would consider that," Pace said on Tuesday. "I think we'd consider every position. Let's face it, the draft is risky enough. When you deviate from taking best player, I think you just increase your risk."
The Bears' GM has gained somewhat of an infamous reputation for wanting to draft a quarterback every year and then never actually doing so, so this very may well be the latest example of that. But given how much uncharacteristic card-tipping Pace has indulged in at that position this offseason, it's worth wondering whether the GM hasn't just had a change of heart, but a change of strategy. Reading between the lines has always been the best way to figure out what's actually going on at Halas Hall. The difference is that this time, Pace is making it easy for us.