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Local guy Jimmy Garoppolo gets dealt from Patriots to Niners: How does big NFL news impact Bears?

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USA TODAY

Local guy Jimmy Garoppolo gets dealt from Patriots to Niners: How does big NFL news impact Bears?

There was major NFL news on Monday night, with the New England Patriots shipping Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a second-round pick in next year's draft.

Now with both teams playing outside of the NFC North, that's not the most impactful news when it comes to the Bears — though the price the Niners paid might open up a debate about whether or not the Bears traded too much to draft Mitch Trubisky earlier this year — but Garoppolo is a local guy, an Arlington Heights native and a Rolling Meadows High School alum.

Before the Bears drafted Trubisky (and signed Mike Glennon) this offseason, there was plenty of online suggestion that they should've gone after Garoppolo, who was stuck behind Tom Brady on the Patriots' depth chart, to fill their void at the quarterback position. That never materialized, and now it's the Niners who get to take a chance on the former Eastern Illinois Panther as their quarterback of the present and perhaps future.

But there is a Bears connection here as they play the Niners later this season, on Dec. 3, to be exact, in a game at Soldier Field.

After this week's bye, the Bears play three games that figure to be tough ones against the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles. But if the Bears still have playoff hopes by the time December rolls around, the game against the Niners could wind up being a big deal. So the Bears' playoff hopes, should such hopes still exist by Dec. 3, could be riding on how they fare against the Chicagoland native Garoppolo and the Niners, the team the Bears traded with in order to secure the No. 2 pick and draft Trubisky earlier this year.

And while the Niners still might be little threat, what with their current NFL-worst 0-8 record, who knows what difference the quarterback change from the duo of ex-Bear Brian Hoyer and Iowa product C.J. Beathard to Garoppolo will bring?

In other words, things just got a lot more interesting.

Matt Nagy listed among coaches on the hot seat in 2020

Matt Nagy listed among coaches on the hot seat in 2020

It's been quite a first two years in Chicago for Bears coach Matt Nagy.

After winning an NFC North title in a 12-win, first season on the job in 2018, Nagy's Bears regressed to a .500 club last season that couldn't get out of its own way on offense, his supposed specialty. With 32 games on his resume and a 20-12 overall record as head coach, the Bears could do a lot worse.

Remember John Fox? Remember Marc Trestman? Never forget.

RELATED: Chicago Bears 7-round Mock Draft

But the NFL is a win-now, win-always, just-win league. Nagy didn't do that in 2019, and when combined with the Super Bowl expectations the Bears began the year with, his shortcomings were magnified.

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky got worse, the offensive line was a turnstile and the running game didn't exist for most of the year.

All this from Nagy's offense that was hyped as Level 202 during training camp.

The hype is over, and the pressure is on. With pressure comes the proverbial hot seat, and Nagy was recently pegged as one of five coaches who will begin next season with a warm buttock by Bleacher Report. 

Nagy's offense and the play of a costly investment by the name of Mitchell Trubisky dramatically regressed in 2019. The Bears managed just 17.5 points per game while Trubisky produced a mere 17 touchdowns against 10 picks. Little in the way of offensive identity existed while the running game averaged 3.7 yards per carry and one ball-carrier (David Montgomery) surpassed the 300-yard mark.

It doesn't help that the defense went from allowing a league-best 17.7 points per game with 50 sacks in 2018 to 18.6 and 32, respectively, fueling the idea of a regression without defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and putting a further damper on things. 

The Bears, given the investment in Trubisky and pieces like All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack, have higher expectations than most teams. Going into 2020, another 8-8 season probably isn't going to cut it. 

Nagy's job security will come down to his handling of Trubisky. If the former No. 2 overall pick delivers more of the same in 2020, Nagy has to prove he has the courage to make the change under center. Otherwise, he'll come across as nothing more than GM Ryan Pace's pawn in the quarterback game.

It's true the fates of Pace and Nagy fate are likely tied together. As the 2020 season goes, so goes their future with the team. They have to be in lockstep about Trubisky, and self-preservation is a very powerful thing. Don't expect Trubisky's leash to be all that long.   

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Bears meet with FIU quarterback at East-West Shrine Bowl

Bears meet with FIU quarterback at East-West Shrine Bowl

The Bears' quest to flip their quarterback room from a group of underwhelming veterans with little upside behind Mitch Trubisky is already off and running.

According to the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson, the Bears met with FIU quarterback James Morgan at the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl, the second-largest All-Star game of the NFL draft circuit.

Morgan (6-foot-4, 223) completed 58 percent of his passes last season for 2,560 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. He isn't considered a draftable player at this point in the process, but a strong showing in front of scouts at the Shrine Bowl could change that. 

Morgan had a more productive 2018 campaign when he threw 26 touchdowns to just seven interceptions while completing more than 65 percent of his passes. 

RELATED: Chicago Bears 7-round Mock Draft

Bears fans are expecting a bigger move at quarterback than Morgan, but if Chicago adds a veteran in free agency, they're more likely to wait until Day 3 to draft a developmental prospect, if any at all. It's possible Trubisky will be backed up (at least initially) by a player like Andy Dalton to begin the year, while a youngster like Morgan sharpens his skill set on the practice squad.

Next week's Senior Bowl will help put some of the pieces of this puzzle together. Quarterbacks Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) and Jordan Love (Utah State) are both considered late first-round prospects who could easily slide into Round 2. If the Bears spend time with them in Mobile, it could be a strong clue about their second-round plans.

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