Bears

Is Cam Newton the answer for Bears' QB problem?

Is Cam Newton the answer for Bears' QB problem?

Barring a miraculous turnaround by Mitch Trubisky over the final eight games of the regular season, the Bears will be one of the first teams connected to every free-agent quarterback this offseason. They'll be tied to likely second-round NFL draft prospects, too. And while no one expected this to be the reality facing GM Ryan Pace three seasons removed from selecting Trubisky with the second overall pick, here we are.

One of the high-profile quarterbacks likely to be on the open market this March is Cam Newton, whose season came to an end after being placed on injured reserve (foot) this week.

Newton, who's suffered back-to-back injury-riddled seasons (bum shoulder in 2018), is a risky proposition in 2020. Is his body at the point where it's irreparable? Are you getting the cheat-code playmaker that he used to be or simply an older, less effective pocket-passer? 

According to NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms, the risk is worth it. He thinks Newton would be a perfect fit and exactly what this roster needs.

"We’re in the early stages here," Simms told NBC Sports Chicago. "I just look at, first off, Cam Newton’s skill set would fit what Matt Nagy wants to do on the offensive side of the ball, so it makes sense from that standpoint. Of course, Cam Newton’s an MVP player, he’s a superstar, he’s special. We haven’t really seen a lot of people (like him) in the history of the NFL, we haven’t seen anybody like him at the quarterback position.

"I think he’d give the city, the locker room, everybody, confidence, and just that this guy’s been there, he’s done that, he’s tough, he’s gritty, just like the people of Chicago, and I think that would fit in a lot of ways."

It's important to note one key factor here: The Panthers have to release Newton (or trade him) for the Bears to have a shot. He has another year left on his contract; if he remains a Panther, they'll pay him $21 million in 2020. But they can cut him and save $19 million against the cap, and with how Kyle Allen is playing this season, most analysts believe that's the most likely scenario.

"Now, a lot of what happens here the last 7 or 8 weeks of the season is gonna dictate how that goes," Simms said. "He might still stay in Carolina if Kyle Allen just totally falls apart here down the stretch, Carolina might say 'OK, we need Cam Newton.'

"If Kyle Allen continues to play well and Carolina gets in the playoffs, then maybe they will look to trade a Cam Newton, and then maybe if I’m Chicago, with the team you have and some of the players and pieces I like… the defense is set, there’s certainly some things on offense that I like, Cam Newton could be that guy that could come in and steady the ship, to a degree."

A silver lining for such a troubling regular season is that the offseason will be full of potentially franchise-changing storylines. It makes the non-football months a bit more exciting for the fans, especially if players like Newton are legitimate targets. 

All that said, it comes down to which quarterback will give the Bears the best chance at sustained success year over year. Trubisky doesn't appear to be that guy, and Newton's medicals could take him off that list, too.

But someone will emerge from the heap of castaways, and when they do, they'll bear the burden of one of the most important seasons in franchise history in 2020. The championship window will eventually close, and the next quarterback will be this team's last hope to finish the job.

On the latest Under Center Podcast, JJ Stankevitz, John "Moon" Mullin, and Cam Ellis discussed the Bears' quarterback situation and Newton as a possible option for the team in 2020:

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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.

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