INDIANAPOLIS — General manager Ryan Pace stated that the Bears had developed multiple scenarios for resolving their quarterback situation both for 2017 and beyond. Priorities now appear to be emerging with the opening of free agency looming a week away.
But not all scenarios have been created equal, and some represent puzzling strategic directions for an organization that has bumbled through myriad failed quarterback strategies over its recent history.
The Bears are expected to meet with representatives of Brian Hoyer this weekend, though indications from various sources are that Hoyer is option No. 3 behind former Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon and trading for New England backup Jimmy Garoppolo — this despite head coach John Fox's seemingly strong endorsement of Hoyer on Wednesday based on Hoyer's decision-making, ball security and experience with many different offensive systems.
Each of these scenarios would presumably be followed by selecting a quarterback in this draft. Opting for Garoppolo or Glennon, however, being clear moves for an anticipated starter, would hint at the Bears dialing down the draft urgency and pursuing other positions based on their draft board instead of over-drafting a quarterback.
Looking closer at the three leading options ahead of next Tuesday's start of the period when teams may openly begin talks with players from other organizations.
The Buccaneers chose Glennon out of North Carolina State in the third round of the 2013 draft. He represents perhaps the most curious of the options available for the Bears, given that he lost his starting job twice in the first three years with Tampa Bay.
Glennon, who hasn't started a game since 2015, was respectable in his rookie year with the Bucs, going 4-9 in his starts. Tampa Bay then signed Josh McCown away from the Bears to be the starter over Glennon, with Glennon relegated to starting only when McCown was injured. The Bucs went 1-4 in his starts.
The Bucs then drafted Jameis Winston. Glennon, now 27, did not play in 2015 and appeared in just two games last season.
Parenthetically, few quarterbacks Glennon's size (6-foot-7) have achieved noteworthy success. More have gone the way of Brock Osweiler, Houston's failed $72-million gamble in free agency last offseason.
Whether the Bears are willing to part with sufficient draft capital to satisfy the Patriots is problematic. But that might be the only real obstacle, even if the former Eastern Illinois standout doesn't have the Bears at the top of this destination wish list.
The Patriots' No. 2 will be entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract at $820,077. After that, if he has played as well as hoped, the Bears would have the option of using their franchise tag on him. Twice. Even tagging Garoppolo twice would cost the Bears some $46 million over three years, considerably less than Jay Cutler cost the team ($54 million) over the first three years of his deal.
A deal could go down as soon as late next week when the league year officially opens.
A groundswell of public sentiment has started in Cleveland for the Browns to bring Hoyer back as a quality bridge quarterback while a draft pick develops. In the meantime, the lack of urgency on the part of the Bears could be construed as lukewarm interest intended on keeping Hoyer as a hedge if the first two options fall through.
Hoyer threw 200 passes last season without an interception.