The Chicago Bears have been connected to virtually every veteran quarterback expected to be available this offseason, including Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill and Andy Dalton. Even Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are in the conversation. But the most appealing option may have just surfaced.
According to NFL Network analyst and longtime Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin, Dallas is considering trading Dak Prescott and pursuing Brady in free agency.
“I am telling you right now, at the Super Bowl in Miami, some very significant people that I had conversations [with were] leaning in that same direction," Irvin said on the Dale & Keefe show. "It was shocking. I had a vodka cranberry in my hand and when they said it to me. I put the drink down and said, ‘Let’s talk a little bit more about this.’ I promise you, I had a conversation with people, I can’t tell you who, about that same scenario going down.”
Irvin later clarified his comments and said his source wasn't Jerry Jones or any high-ranking Cowboys official. Still, it's a noteworthy nugget. Where there's smoke with a rumor like this, there's usually fire, and with Prescott's camp demanding a contract that will make him one of the highest-paid, if not the highest-paid, quarterbacks in the NFL, there's at least a chance they will listen to trade offers if a new deal seems unreachable.
Dallas would have to place the franchise tag on Prescott before moving him and a potential suitor would need to have a long-term deal in place before pulling the trigger, which means interested clubs need a whole lot of cap space. There's also the issue of trade compensation. It's impossible to imagine a scenario where the Cowboys would take anything less than multiple first-round picks for Prescott.
The Bears don't have that. Not in 2020, at least. They're still paying the debt owed to the Raiders for Khalil Mack.
But a young franchise-caliber quarterback like Prescott rarely becomes available on the trade market and the Bears owe it to fans to at least put a package together to try, once an for all, to secure a player who can become the face of the franchise for years to come.
Again, the biggest impediment to any trade would be the price. It wasn't too long ago that former Bears genral manager Jerry Angelo traded two first-round picks, a third-round pick and Kyle Orton for Jay Cutler back in 2009. Angelo had the assets to pull off a trade like that. Ryan Pace isn't as fortunate and a deal for Prescott would likely require a similar package.
The Bears have two second-round picks in 2020 and will be back in the first round in 2021. They could package the No. 43 and 50 picks in this year's draft, and their first-rounder in 2021 for Prescott, but that feels way short of a reasonable asking price for a franchise quarterback.
As a result, Pace would have no choice but to add a player or two into the offer. But who? Mitch Trubisky has no appeal or trade value, and Khalil Mack's contract makes trading him extremely unlikely. Plus, Mack is to the defense what a player like Prescott would be for the offense. And while securing a franchise quarterback will get you closer to a Super Bowl than an elite pass-rusher will, it doesn't seem logical for a Bears team that can add a veteran passer in free agency while holding onto Mack.
It would be an unfortunate turn of events if the Cowboys actually do make Prescott available this offseason and Pace, because of past roster decisions and trades, can't make a legitimate run at him.