Marcus Mariota

Would the Bears avoid signing Marcus Mariota because he shares an agent with Trubisky?

Would the Bears avoid signing Marcus Mariota because he shares an agent with Trubisky?

According to the very first search result on the very first Google page, it takes — on average — 66 days to successfully create a habit. 

According to another search result, also on the first page, there are 59 days left until March 13. March 13 just so happens be the first day that NFL free agents can sign with new teams. So if we try our best, it's entirely possible that we can make Bears QB speculation a fully-formed habit by the time we'll get any actual news about it. Life is all about setting achievable goals; let's dive in. 

Today's speculation comes from the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs, who's as tuned into what's happening behind the scenes at Halas Hall as just about anyone on the Bears' beat. He went on the radio show that Akiem Hicks (hilariously, sorry) hung up on like a month ago, and chatted about why it doesn't seem likely that the Bears would bring in Marcus Mariota. 

"... those quarterbacks share the same agent, and that makes no sense for the agent because the agent then guarantees one of their two clients is not starting. And, furthermore, the agent probably sees Trubisky as a guy who should be a starter, who shouldn't be challenged for the starting job, so there's almost no way that they would take another one of their clients to go challenge another one of their clients for the job. Mariota's just an absolute non-starter for the Bears, no matter how they even evaluate him ... " 

Both Trubisky and Mariota are represented by Rep 1 Sports. For whatever it's worth, Rep 1 sports also represents Blake Bortles, who signed a one-year deal to be the Rams' backup QB before this past season. The Rams' starting QB, of course, is Jared Goff ... who's also represented by Rep 1 Sports. Another QB2 on the agency's roster is Nate Sudfeld, who appeared in three games between 2017 and 2018 as Carson Wentz's backup in Philadelphia. Now guess who represents Wentz!! 

Then again, Biggs typically gets these things right, and him saying that Mariota is a "non-starter" with the organization should be taken seriously, especially now that Mark Helfrich isn't around. Maybe that line of reasoning is what the Bears are going with, even if the agency has shown no real history of being averse to having 2 QBs on the same roster. Bortles and Sudfeld were never going to push their respective teammates for a starting job, but it's not like Mariota would push Trubisky either? That is, if you believe what the McCaskeys/Matt Nagy/Ryan Pace are saying about Trubisky's job status. Maybe you don't, though, which makes this speculatory blog perfect for you! 

Eight! More! Weeks! 

Marcus Mariota to the Bears? One NFL exec thinks so

Marcus Mariota to the Bears? One NFL exec thinks so

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is one of the first names mentioned when the Bears' offseason quest for quarterback competition comes up. The former second overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft profiles as an ideal signing for GM Ryan Pace, who's searching for a player with franchise-quarterback upside who doesn't pose an immediate threat to Mitch Trubisky's starting job.

According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, one NFL executive thinks Mariota to the Bears makes total sense.

"I could see Chicago [for Mariota]," the exec said. "Ryan Pace wants to stick with Mitch [Trubisky], and this way Mariota can start games but isn't a total replacement, leaving room for Trubisky to regain his confidence and play well."

It wasn't long ago that Pace had quite the affinity for Mariota. He liked him so much as a draft prospect in 2015 that reports surfaced of his attempt to trade up with the Titans to select him. Unlike some talent evaluators, Pace wasn't concerned about the wide-open offense Mariota played in under former Bears offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.

"I think you have to watch a lot of tape on those guys to feel good with it,” Pace said at the NFL annual meetings in March 2015. “And we’ve done enough research on him that I think he’s a good quarterback. That [system] doesn’t scare me away from it at all.”

The Bears held the seventh overall pick that year and were dangling Jay Cutler as part of a package to move into the second pick for Mariota. Their offer was declined, but here we are, five seasons later, and Pace may get his guy after all.

Remember: Mariota was the first quarterback Pace fell for as a general manager. He was his first draft crush, even before Trubisky. And with Trubisky on shaky ground (at best), maybe Pace will fall back on his first instinct as a decision-maker and get the one that got away.

It's hard to predict what kind of payday Mariota will command on the open market. There's a chance he follows the example set by his teammate, Ryan Tannehill, and goes all-in on a one-year discount deal in an effort to reset his value in 2021. 

Mariota will enter unrestricted free agency following his worst season as a pro. He started just six games, completed less than 60% of his passes, and simply wasn't an effective playmaker under center. His shortcomings were exposed by Tannehill, who immediately flipped the Titans' offense into one of the better overall units in the league down the stretch.

Still, Mariota and the Bears just feels right. If Pace had his way in 2015, Mariota would've already been in Chicago and who knows how his career would've unfolded. 

A summer quarterback competition between Trubisky and Mariota is trending as a safe bet. But even if Mariota signs elsewhere, it's on Pace to make sure a summer quarterback competition takes place, period.

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Ryan Pace must find Bears their Ryan Tannehill this offseason

Ryan Pace must find Bears their Ryan Tannehill this offseason

The Tennessee Titans have set the offseason blueprint for the Bears. Their 20-13 wild-card victory over the New England Patriots was due in large part to the incredible performance of running back Derrick Henry, but the main reason why they were even playing in the game was because of the remarkable season from quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

While Tannehill attempted only 15 passes against the Patriots, he managed a playoff win in a seemingly unwinnable scenario: At New England against Tom Brady. Should we be all that surprised that he pulled out the victory, though? He was, after all, 7-3 this season and completed a remarkable 70.3% of his passes for 2,742 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in just 10 games.

Tannehill has been playing like an MVP for a Titans team that began the year hoping they'd never have to use him.

Tennessee’s success in 2019 should give Bears fans confidence that Chicago can get back to contender status in 2020. In order to get there, general manager Ryan Pace has to make calculated and strategic decisions with one objective in mind: Protect the Bears from another Trubisky letdown and make sure they have their own version of Tannehill in place who’s capable of ascending into a leadership role if Trubisky fails.

Pace will have a few options in the veteran quarterback market, some of whom have career resumes similar to Tannehill’s tenure as a Dolphin.

Take Andy Dalton (Bengals) as a prime example. Dalton has a career 62% completion percentage since entering the league in 2011. He's thrown 204 touchdowns and 118 interceptions over the last nine seasons. Tannehill, who played in Miami from 2012-18, completed 62.8% of his passes as a Dolphin while tossing 123 touchdowns to 75 interceptions.

Very similar numbers.

It cost the Titans a seventh-round pick in 2019 and a fourth-round pick in 2020 to acquire Tannehill (and a 2019 sixth-rounder) from the Dolphins, and with Dalton under contract with the Bengals through 2020, it could take a similar deal (although it’s likely the Bengals would part ways with Dalton for less), for Pace to land a somewhat proven veteran.

The similarities between the Titans' quarterback situation entering 2019 and what the Bears face entering this offseason are obvious. Marcus Mariota was an underachieving former second overall pick who after 55 starts didn’t inspire enough confidence for Tennessee to hang championship hopes on his right arm. Trubisky, after 41 starts, has arguably created more doubt about his future as a franchise quarterback than even Mariota did.

Instead of another wait-and-see season, Tennessee pulled the trigger on a trade that changed the fortunes of their franchise.

Tannehill is great evidence of how a quarterback sometimes needs a change of scenery to reach his ceiling. Matt Nagy has firsthand experience with this type of player development after having coached Alex Smith during his breakout years with the Kansas City Chiefs following some underwhelming years as a former first overall pick of the San Francisco 49ers.

Maybe instead of Dalton, it’s Mariota who needs that change of scenery. An unexpected result of Tannehill's success will be Mariota's availability on the unrestricted free agency market. He has the pedigree; he's just lacking the production.

No matter who Pace targets as that backup with savior’s upside, the Titans’ playoff success has erased any doubt that the Bears should follow a similar plan to make sure they take full advantage of a rare championship window.