Bears QB Big Board, 1.0: If not Trubisky, then who?

Bears QB Big Board, 1.0: If not Trubisky, then who?

Just when it felt like the Bears were exiting a vicious cycle of quarterback disappointment that ranged from Jim Harbaugh in the early-90s straight through Jay Cutler a couple of seasons ago, Mitch Trubisky's regression in 2019 has the fanbase searching for answers under center once again.

Fortunately for the Bears, there will be a handful of quality quarterbacks available this offseason who'd represent an upgrade over what we've seen from Trubisky this year. Whether via free agency or the NFL draft, GM Ryan Pace will have more than a few names to consider when evaluating the game's most important position.

At the top of the 'Quarterback Big Board' right now is Bengals starter-turned-backup, Andy Dalton. At 32 years old, Dalton has enjoyed varying degrees of success including two seasons over 4,200 yards (both would've set Bears franchise passing records). He's experienced, smart and more than capable of effectively managing games while Chicago's defense strings together another season or two of top-tier play. He won't break the bank, either. Dalton, paired with a rookie in the 2020 NFL draft, just feels right.

Then there's Marcus Mariota, who unlike Dalton hasn't had the best ride in Tennessee. But he's a classic case of a supremely talented player who needs a fresh start, and what better place to get that reboot than in Chicago where he'd reunite with his former college coach, Mark Helfrich. Mariota could end up No. 1 on this board by season's end because at just 26 years old, he still profiles as a potential franchise quarterback a team can build around.

There's also Cam Newton, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday because of a foot injury. He's been banged up in recent years and has lost some of the magic that made him one of the NFL's must-see talents. But Cam at 75% is better than most options on the open market. 

The NFL Draft can't be ignored in this conversation, either. Armed with two second-round picks, Pace could choose to package them in an effort to move up and grab a quarterback who falls later than expected, potentially even into the back half of the first round. If he stays true to the second round, prospects like Georgia's Jake Fromm and Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts would make sense (especially if Dalton is added in free agency).

As I said, there are a lot of options to get this fixed. Here's the first installment of our Bears QB Big Board:

Quarterback Big Board (11/5/2019)

1. Andy Dalton (Bengals)

2. Marcus Mariota (Titans)

3. Cam Newton (Panthers)

4. Jake Fromm (Georgia)

5. Nick Foles (Jaguars)

6. Teddy Bridgewater (Saints)

Outside looking in...

Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma)

Ryan Tannehill (Titans)

Mitch Trubisky (Bears)

Jameis Winston (Buccaneers)

Jacob Eason (Washington) 

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Are the Bears going to trade for 49ers QB C.J. Beathard?

Are the Bears going to trade for 49ers QB C.J. Beathard?

The Chicago Bears have a quarterback problem. Whether the front office, coaching staff or fanbase wants to admit it, after 32 starts with Mitch Trubisky under center, there's less certainty about this team having a franchise passer than at anytime since before Jay Cutler arrived in 2009.

As a result, and with the NFL trade deadline looming this week, rumors about the Bears pursuing a Plan B at the position are swirling. And while most of those rumors will come from untrustworthy sources, one NFL insider can make the football world stop in a single tweet.

ESPN's Adam Schefter is the most tuned-in guy in the business, so when he suggests the Bears might be kicking the tires on a potential quarterback trade, it's time to really pay attention. In this case, while appearing on Kap and Company on ESPN 1000, Schefter suggested the Bears may tap into the 2017 talent pool to find at least competition for Trubisky down the stretch: 49ers backup, C.J. Beathard.

"[If] somebody made them an offer for a late-round pick, they'd take it. Give them -- I'm making this up -- a sixth or a seventh ... yeah, they'd take that, I think. ... [For Chicago], that might be a guy that's worth bringing in for a seventh. Maybe you go trade Taylor Gabriel -- you know what, now that I think about it, how about Taylor Gabriel for C.J. Beathard? 

"Quarterbacks are currency, so you can never go wrong with a quarterback. Kyle Shanahan knows how to use Taylor Gabriel as well as anything. They're winning, and Taylor Gabriel would be dangerous in that offense. Again, we're just spit-balling here. Who knows what the deal is. I'm sure that's probably not a trade that could happen."

This sounds like nothing more than speculation by Schefter at this point, but there's smoke beginning to rise from Halas Hall when it comes to Trubisky's future. If they're entertaining the possibility of a trade, it's because they've seen enough to know that they really don't know if he can play. And after 2.5 seasons and plenty of NFL reps, if Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy don't know by now, then there's a good chance Trubisky won't be in Chicago much longer.

Beathard wouldn't exactly be the pedigree of player fans would like to see replace Trubisky, but he was a highly-regarded draft prospect in 2017 in a class that included Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson at the top. Beathard was selected by the 49ers in the third round, and Oakland Raiders GM Mike Mayock, who was an NFL Network analyst at the time, had this to say about the former Iowa star:

"C.J. Beathard had mostly fifth-, sixth-round grades from the teams I spoke with. Obviously has great NFL lineage, the Beathard name famous for talent evaluation, and I thought his tape was down a little bit this year. I thought he was better as a junior. Very smart, understands where to go with the football, better arm than expected when you really sit down and study him. I haven't seen him live, and the people who went to his Pro Day told me he had an excellent day."

Beathard has 10 career starts over the last 2.5 seasons. He's completed 57.3% of his passes for 2,682 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. 

Not exactly jaw-dropping numbers. Maybe a Beathard acquisition would be for no other reason than to create a competitive environment in training camp. Competition brings out the best in players, and right now Trubisky has none. A player like Beathard, who isn't a threat to his gig on paper, would at least represent a young arm with Day-2 draft pedigree who could give Nagy a reason to yank Trubisky if the former second overall pick continues to struggle.

At this point, something has to change. And if Trubisky doesn't have what it takes to give the Bears offense the kind of quarterbacking it so desperately needs, then even an underwhelming addition like Beathard would be a welcome sight for Bears fans.

Matt Nagy says Bears will stick with Mitch Trubisky at QB

Matt Nagy says Bears will stick with Mitch Trubisky at QB

For better or worse, the 2019 Bears are married to quarterback Mitch Trubisky. With no viable option behind the former second overall pick, and a general manager and head coach so invested in Trubisky's development, he'll remain the starter entering Week 9 despite a disastrous second half in Sunday's 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Nagy confirmed Trubisky will remain under center when he met with the media at Halas Hall on Monday.

Nagy, who said he believes there's still time left in the season for Trubisky to develop into the quarterback they expect him to be, said he completed some special passes in Week 8 despite the obvious focus on his ill-advised interception and inexcusable overthrow of Taylor Gabriel in the fourth quarter.

Through six starts this season, Trubisky's completed 64.6% of his passes for 1,092 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. His stats are pretty indicative of his less-than-pedestrian play now 32 starts into his career.

Nagy confirming Trubisky will remain the starter isn't much of a surprise. If, however, Trubisky continues to struggle down the stretch, that commitment won't be there this offseason. 

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