It's been a rough few months for Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky. First, Chicago traded for his potential replacement, Nick Foles. Then came general manager Ryan Pace's decision to decline his fifth-year option, a move that's generally considered a no-brainer if a first-round quarterback has shown promise through his first three seasons.
Trubisky's certainly had some quality moments behind center for the Bears, and his productive 2018 season raised expectations for a big second year under Matt Nagy's tutelage in 2019. Unfortunately, he regressed across the board. He was so bad -- and seemed so lost -- that his time in Chicago feels like it's running out.
Pace took his time making his decision on Trubisky's fifth-year option. He did his due diligence; he reviewed and analyzed and scrutinized every aspect of Trubisky's game. In the end, No. 10 just hasn't been good enough, and one thing that's plagued him is his inability to connect on the long ball. In fact, Trubisky was recently rated as the league's worst deep-ball thrower by USA Today's Doug Farrar.
There are a number of reasons the Bears declined Trubisky’s fifth-year option and brought Nick Foles in to compete for Chicago’s starting job, but Trubisky’s performance on deep passes is stunningly bad. Last season, Trubisky had the worst EPA (Expected Points Added) on deep throws — his -14.6 far outpaced the field, as Daniel Jones of the Giants finished second-worst at -9.0. On such throws, Trubisky completed just 32 of 103 passes for 779 yards, four touchdowns, and seven interceptions. It’s one of many things Trubisky will have to improve if he’s ever to be thought of as anything but a draft bust.
Having a quality deep ball isn't a prerequisite to be a quality NFL starter, but it certainly helps. The ability to flip the field on one play that's the result of an on-the-money bucket-throw is extremely valuable, and it's a reasonable expectation for a player who was selected with the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Bears aren't good enough to overcome a quarterback who fails to take advantage of those rare opportunities to make impact downfield throws. That's why Foles is in Chicago. And it's why Trubisky probably won't be much longer.