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Report: Bears met with Marcus Mariota

Playoff Championship Ohio St Oregon Football

Oregon’s Marcus Mariota during the first half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Ohio State Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AP

Most of the speculation at quarterback for the Bears this offseason has revolved around whether they’ll stick with Jay Cutler as their starter, something that appears to be the likeliest way for things to go as long as Jimmy Clausen is their alternative.

The draft could bring another option into the mix and the team is reportedly doing their homework on one of the top prospects in this year’s class. During an appearance on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota visited the Bears a little more than a week ago.

The Bears currently hold the seventh overall selection in the first round, which might be too low to have a shot at picking Mariota come April 30. A trade would carry a steep price for a team with a lot of needs to fill around the roster, although it could be a more realistic possibility if the Bears can deal a player rather than simply a collection of draft picks.

Cutler would likely be near the top of the list of pieces they’d dangle in exchange for a chance to grab Mariota, but previous attempts to dangle him as trade bait haven’t created much interest around the league in getting a deal done. Perhaps that changes once teams get closer to the start of the draft, but Cutler’s salary and recent history make acquiring him a tough sell for teams that have a shot at picking Mariota.