Bears Insider

How Lamar, Rodgers, other QBs will impact Bears' offseason

Bears Insider
Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers

The champagne is still flowing in Kansas City, but for the rest of the 31 teams in the NFL, the offseason is in full swing.

General manager Ryan Poles and the Bears have spent the last six weeks putting together their free-agency and NFL draft plans. With almost $100 million in salary cap space and the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bears are drawing up the blueprints for what they hope is a franchise-altering offseason.

But they won't be in sole control of their offseason destiny. The NFL is a quarterback league and there are five signal-callers who will determine what road Poles and the Bears travel as the rebuild in Chicago hits Phase 2.

Lamar Jackson

The situation with Jackson and the Ravens should reach a resolution in the coming weeks.

The 26-year-old played out his rookie contract this past season and is currently unsigned for the 2023 season. The Ravens want to come to an agreement with Jackson on a long-term contract, but Jackson, who doesn't have an agent, is looking for a contract with fully guaranteed money like Deshaun Watson got from the Cleveland Browns.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that the Ravens plan to place the franchise tag on Jackson should the two sides be unable to reach a long-term agreement.

However, Rapoport also reported that the Ravens could be swayed to tag-and-trade Jackson if offered a haul of picks.

The Ravens can place the non-exclusive tag on Jackson ($32.416 million) and let Jackson negotiate a contract with other teams. If Jackson and a new team agree to a deal that the Ravens don't match, then Baltimore would get two first-round picks, and Jackson can go to his new team.


Baltimore can also put the exclusive franchise tag on Jackson ($45 million), keep him a Raven, and continue to work toward a long-term deal.

The franchise tag deadline is March 7.

Several teams are expected to call the Ravens to inquire about Jackson's availability, but the sense right now is that Baltimore will tag him and go from there.

Aaron Rodgers

The 39-year-old is set to enter his "darkness retreat" Friday as he mulls over his NFL future.

This has been a yearly dance between Rodgers and the Packers, but things appear different this time.

Should Rodgers and the Packers decide to split, several teams are expected to enter trade discussions, including the New York Jets and Las Vegas Raiders.

Rodgers knows his contract must be reworked should he play in 2023. The $59.465 million he's owed in 2023 simply isn't viable for the Packers or any other team.

The feeling around the league is that Rodgers will return in 2023 but that his days with the Packers are most likely numbered. Rodgers will be a massive domino in the QB carousel, and his future likely will impact the Bears' plan to trade the No. 1 pick.

Derek Carr

This will be the first big quarterback dominoes to fall.

The Raiders released Carr this week, making the veteran a free agent and giving him a headstart on finding a new team before free agency begins.

The New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, and others are expected to be interested in the four-time Pro Bowler.

The ripple of Carr landing in New Orleans won't even touch the Bears' boat. But if he heads to Carolina, New York, or Houston, he will severely impact the Bears' plans.

Jimmy Garoppolo

After years of being good but not good enough in San Francisco, Garoppolo will finally be able to find a new home this offseason.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said there was no scenario he could envision where Garoppolo returns in 2023.

Garoppolo is expected to get interest from the Raiders, Panthers, Titans, and Bucs.

The cap-strapped Bucs don't currently have the space to sign Garoppolo but will create wiggle room over the next month. Tampa is a situation for the Bears to watch as they look for a potential elite wide receiver to come available in the trade market. Should the Bucs not sign Garoppolo and opt to rebuild, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin would be ideal targets for the Bears.

RELATED: Fields trade whispers likely only have one meaning for Bears

Another team I think could be a sleeper for Garoppolo is the Houston Texans. New head coach DeMeco Ryans is familiar with Garoppolo from their time in the Bay. The Texans own the No. 2 and No. 12 pick but face a lengthy rebuild. They could look to take the Detroit Lions' path by adding a veteran quarterback and choosing to fix other holes early in the draft.


Bryce Young

After Rodgers, here's the quarterback who will have the most significant impact on the Bears' plans for a transformational offseason.

Young heads into the pre-draft process as the top-rated quarterback. But there are questions about his frame and whether his body can withstand a 17-game NFL season. Some teams will take Young off the board purely because they believe he's too small to bet a top-five pick on.

The 2024 quarterback class also will play a role in how quarterback-needy teams evaluate Young. Most NFL evaluators believe USC's Caleb Williams and North Carolina's Drake Maye would go one-two in this draft if they were eligible.

For teams facing long rebuilds like the Texans, they could save their quarterback draft bullet until next April instead of using it on Young, who is insanely talented but comes with size questions.

Young's pre-draft process, what he weighs in at, and how the narrative develops will play a big role in how many teams are interested in rising up the draft board for him come April.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Download MyTeams Today!