Bears

Plenty of implications for Bears after signing of Mike Glennon

Plenty of implications for Bears after signing of Mike Glennon

Without realistic chances of getting Kirk Cousins away from the Washington Redskins or Jimmy Garoppolo out of the New England Patriots, the Bears and GM Pace opted for the upside of former Tampa Bay Buccaneer No. 2 quarterback Mike Glennon, 27, over the known quantity of Brian Hoyer, 31, heading into a pivotal third year for GM Ryan Pace and coach John Fox running Bears football operations.
 
The move is the first major step taken by Pace to address the starting-quarterback situation by other than staying with Jay Cutler in 2015, a decision strongly pushed by then-offensive coordinator Adam Gase and carried on by successor Dowell Loggains. The organization stayed the Cutler course last year but it was a final prove-it season with the last of the guaranteed money owed under the contract Cutler signed under former GM Phil Emery going into 2014.
 
For now, the Bears have two quarterbacks under contract: Glennon and Connor Shaw.
 
Previous quarterback moves by Pace and the Fox coaching staff involved backups. Those included re-signing Jimmy Clausen in 2015 and upgrading to Hoyer last offseason to back up Cutler, waiver-claiming Shaw as a developmental project last July and signing Matt Barkley to the practice squad last September. Pace did not draft a quarterback in either of his first two Bears drafts; he is expected to this year irrespective of the Glennon signing.

[MORE: End of an era: Bears set to release Jay Cutler]
 
Glennon in 21 games, 18 starts, has compiled a career passer rating of 84.6, a tick below that of Cutler (85.7) and Hoyer (84.8).  He has completed 59 percent of his 630 passes for 4,100 yards with 30 touchdowns and 15 interceptions during his 21 games with the Buccaneers.
 
Glennon also has some history of ball security, with a respectable interception rate of 2.4 percent, in line with Hoyer's 2.2 percent and NFC North now-rivals Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota (2.5 percent) and Detroit's Matthew Stafford (2.5). Cutler, by comparison, was interception-prone at 3.3 percent, and no team reached the NFL postseason in 2016 with a quarterback interception rate higher than 3.1 percent (Houston/Brock Osweiler, Miami/Ryan Tannehill).

Glennon tipping points
 
Lavishing money on a quarterback with just 18 career starts comes with considerable risk, and more than a few questions. The Houston Texans took a similar flier on an inexperienced Osweiler last offseason and now face major challenges recovering from what appears to have been misplaced hope.
 
Glennon is not without high points in his NFL background, however, clearly what the Bears are banking on, literally and figuratively.
 
In what was likely a tipping point in the Bears' evaluation and conclusions about him, Glennon, who hadn't seen the field since 2014, replaced the injured Jameis Winston late in a blowout loss against the Super Bowl-bound Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 3. Playing just 12 snaps in the fourth quarter, Glennon completed 10 of 11 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown, plus one more throw for a two-point conversion, against a very good Atlanta defense, albeit in garbage time with the Falcons up 43-20. Glennon played three snaps the following week in Tampa Bay's win over the Bears in Tampa.
 
Glennon had a respectable rookie season (2013) with an 83.9 passer rating, 59.4-percent completion percentage, 19 TD's vs. 9 INT's. He went to the bench behind Josh McCown in 2014 but in his first start when McCown was injured, Glennon directed the Buccaneers to a road win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, who eventually would win the AFC Central and reach the AFC Championship game that season.
 
Sources familiar with Glennon said he was comfortable taking charge of his huddle in spite of his relatively short resume, and he was not intimidated by big moments, or opponents.

Bumpy ride in Tampa
 
Tampa Bay selected Glennon, a two-year starter at North Carolina State, with the 11th pick (73rd overall) of the third round in 2013, one of the poorest quarterback classes in years. E.J. Manuel (Buffalo, No. 16) was the only quarterback taken in round one, Geno Smith (N.Y. Jets, No. 39) alone in the second, and Glennon in the third. None has developed into a sustainable starting quarterback, and both the Bills and Jets were among the teams looking hardest at Glennon in recent weeks. Four quarterbacks were selected in the 2013 fourth round, beginning with Matt Barkley; same lack of results.
 
Glennon came into a potentially good situation (for him), with the Bucs near the end of their hope for former No. 1 pick (2009) Josh Freeman. When the season started 0-3 under Freeman, the switch was made to Glennon, who went 4-9 as Tampa Bay's starter with a passer rating of 83.9.
 
But coach Greg Schiano was fired and Lovie Smith hired in 2014. When the Bears did not make a strong move to keep Josh McCown, Smith and the Bucs signed McCown to a two-year deal and installed him as the starter instead of Glennon, although Smith regarded Glennon as potentially Tampa Bay's quarterback of the future.
 
Glennon had chances in 2014 when McCown missed time with injuries, but the Bucs finished 2-14 and used the No. 1-overall pick on Jameis Winston, who became the day-one starter and Glennon never started again. He did not see the field at all in 2015 and filled in for Winston twice last season with a total of 15 snaps taken.
 
The Buccaneers had trade offers for Glennon in the 2015 and 2016 offseasons but opted to hold onto him as a backup to Winston. And they did make an offer, but one based on his remaining a backup.
 
"We'd love to have Mike back in a perfect scenario," Bucs general manager Jason Licht had said last week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, adding prophetically, “It's going to depend on him. He's going to have some other opportunities. Where it is, what's the landscape there, how good of a chance he has to start there? I don't know but we'd love to have him back."

Patrick Mahomes gives Matt Nagy ringing endorsement

Patrick Mahomes gives Matt Nagy ringing endorsement

The story of the Chicago Bears 2017 NFL draft is a tale of what could've been. Had GM Ryan Pace decided now-Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes was a better quarterback prospect Mitch Trubisky, it's conceivable that Chicago, not Kansas City, would be playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

It's a nightmare Bears fans will live through for years and years (and years, and years). And that nightmare isn't limited to the Soldier Field faithful. Coach Matt Nagy has first-hand experience of what life in Mahomes could've been like in Chicago after working with the strong-armed gunslinger as the Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2017.

Mahomes, who sat that season behind veteran Alex Smith, said Nagy was a big influence in his first year as a pro.

‘‘Nagy was amazing with me and my transition into the NFL," Mahomes said this week from Miami, via the Chicago Sun-Times, "being able to relate to me, being able to go out there and let me play fast and be who I am."

RELATED: Bears add QB in latest 2020 NFL mock draft

Mahomes attempted just 35 passes that season, but Nagy's role in his jump from Texas Tech to the NFL made a lasting impact.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Nagy after two seasons with Trubisky. It isn't necessarily Nagy's fault, although questions about his play-calling ran wild throughout the 2019 season. But Trubisky's physical skill-set isn't (nor will it ever be) comparable to Mahomes'. There's a lot less for Nagy to work with and we may never see his real impact on the quarterback room until the Bears decide to move on from the former second overall pick.

Mahomes will forever haunt Bears fans. But maybe, just maybe, hope remains with Nagy in charge. And maybe, just maybe, he'll have the same Mahomes-effect on whoever QB-next is in Chicago.

Danny Trevathan declares himself fully healthy as free agency looms

Danny Trevathan declares himself fully healthy as free agency looms

Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan, one of the team's most important defensive leaders, was limited to just nine games in 2019 after suffering a gruesome left elbow injury in Week 10 against the Detroit Lions. It was a tough break for Trevathan, who's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March.

Trevathan finished the 2019 regular season with 70 tackles and one sack and had the Bears' sixth-highest run-defense grade from Pro Football Focus.

Teams searching for a physical and instinctive linebacker will rank Trevathan high on their wish list, but his history of injuries will create hesitation in paying top dollar for his services. He's managed just two 16-game seasons in his eight-year career.

Fortunately for Trevathan, his injury wasn't the type that should limit his effectiveness in 2020. He took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce he's back to full health and ready to resume football activities, and presumably, to cash-in on the open market.

This is great news for the Bears and GM Ryan Pace, who in an ideal world would love to have Trevathan lined up next to Roquan Smith in their Super Bowl quest. But with fellow linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski also due to become a free agent, Pace has to decide whether Trevathan is a better investment than Kwiatkoski, who proved he's capable of high-end starter's production when he was given opportunities to play in 2019.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Kwiatkoski played 512 snaps last season (compared to Trevathan's 559) and finished with just two fewer tackles and a higher PFF season grade. He was an effective pass-rusher, too, finishing the year with three sacks.

Regardless of which direction the Bears go in free agency, Trevathan's return to full health is good news. Chicago can't go wrong with who they choose to line up as their starting linebacker in 2020.