Why Adewale Ogunleye wouldn't trade for Deshaun Watson

/ by Alex Shapiro
Presented By Miller Lite

If you pull 100 Bears fans off the street and ask them the No. 1 position the team needs to address, and you’ll likely get 100 people that say “quarterback.” It doesn’t matter if you found those fans in 1990, 2000 or 2020, the story remains the same. But on NBC Sports Chicago’s “Countdown to Kickoff” Show, former Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye bucked that trend.

“I just feel like general managers, and the public, put a lot of emphasis on the quarterback position,” Ogunleye said. “But in my mind, any year, there’s really just five or six quarterbacks that are elite. Everyone else are really just managers, just managers of the game.

“So if you take that aspect— and I am a defensive player, so I apologize that I do have this opinion— but I do think that you take the time, build this team out, know exactly what the team needs, know the structure, know the community, know what type of fanbase you have, and structure a team that way.

“We know in Chicago we like to play great defense, so we’re going to have good defenses. But have a quarterback that can get the ball down the field a little bit, have somebody that’s serviceable, won’t turn the ball over, and put points up on the board when we have to. To me, that doesn’t sound like rocket science.”

To me, it sounds like Ogunleye wants the Bears to trade for a guy like Ryan Tannehill or Derek Carr. Those QBs finished third and fourth respectively for 40+ yard completions, and each finished the season with fewer than 10 interceptions. In both Las Vegas and Tennessee's cases as well, defense was the problem, not offense. Each team finished in the top-10 for scoring offense, and the bottom-10 for scoring defense. Taking one of those quarterbacks and pairing him with the Bears’ defense however could be a recipe for success.


The caveat for Ogunleye is the price it would cost the Bears to bring in a quarterback of that caliber. Even if the Bears find themselves as a finalist for one of those truly elite QBs, like Deshaun Watson, Ogunleye doubts the team will see a good return on their investment.

“For a team to give up all its future draft picks for a quarterback, I just don’t see that paying out,” Ogunleye said. “I don’t see how that could pan out in the long run when you mortgage your future for the present.”

In fact, Ogunleye says you don’t have to look much further than recent history at Halas Hall to prove his point.

“Let’s look at it big picture. We had a great defense. We played great with Kyle Orton, who managed, got us down the field, got us into the playoffs. Rex Grossman was a good deep ball, but let’s forget Rex. As soon as Rex was done, the Bears turned to Jay Cutler, who was a gunslinger, first-round draft pick. A big, big arm from the Denver Broncos. What did that lead to?

“I say, at the end of the day, build the team the right way. Find the right quarterback in the right system, and let’s score some points. Don’t turn the ball over. It’s not rocket science.

“I think it’s the easy way out for the GMs to see a guy in Detroit like Matt Stafford and go, ‘I wish I had a guy like that. If I had a guy like that we’d be in the Super Bowl.’ And the truth of the matter is, that’s probably not true. That’s probably not true.”

Ogunleye joined us on Monday to give advice for NFL GMs, but he’s actually moved away from football and started working for UBS Wealth Management to help give financial advice to athletes. Last November, Ogunleye was named the lead of UBS’ Athletes and Entertainers Strategic Client Segment.

“My goal at UBS is to bridge… my experience as an athlete, as a person that’s come from communities that might have been marginalized… Now this expertise of UBS, coming together and combining the best sound advice for our clients.

“My goal is… making sure we bridge the gaps, we stay away from stereotypes. I think with planning that way we stay away from having those big headlines of athletes losing a ton of money, athletes getting in bed with the wrong advisors, which we see all the time. I’m just trying to give back in any way that I can.”


Click here to subscribe to the Under Center Podcast for free.

Download MyTeams Today!