Chicago Bears: Signing Mark Sanchez Does Not Alter 2017 NFL Draft Plans

The Chicago Bears signed quarterback Mark Sanchez on Thursday, but they will still likely address the position in the 2017 NFL Draft.

There was a time where the Chicago Bears signing quarterback Mark Sanchez would have been big news. Now is not that time. The Bears agreed to terms with Sanchez on a one-year deal on Thursday. As of right now, Sanchez is Mike Glennon‘s backup quarterback but we have a long offseason to go before that is final.

Sanchez is not even a viable backup quarterback at this point in his career. He does have some experience and could probably hold serve for a brief period in an emergency, but Sanchez is not the guy who you want to turn to if you starting quarterback goes down for an extended period of time.

That being said, Sanchez did get high praise for his work mentoring Dak Prescott with the Dallas Cowboys last season. As you know, Prescott had an incredible rookie season after being taken in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Sanchez barely saw the field for the Cowboys, but he was a personal coach and mentor of sorts for Prescott on the sidelines. Sanchez himself had a lot of success early in his NFL career and knew how to teach Prescott how to handle himself.

For more on Sanchez and Prescott’s relationship, check out this excellent piece from November by Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Dallas Star-Telegram. The part that stood out to me the most was Sanchez recalling what he said to Prescott following his first career interception in his sixth career game against the Green Bay Packers.

“I just go back to that Green Bay and when he threw that interception and it was his first one of the year,” Sanchez said. “We are talking Game 6 and that’s unbelievable. I remember telling him ‘look I know what you’re going to do. I want you to show these other people. The team knows, but you go show them you go take it you go own this next drive. Take the ball down and score like you do every time and he did.”

Sure enough, following his first career interception, Prescott drove the Cowboys down the field for a seven play, 75-yard drive, capped off with a four-yard touchdown pass to Cole Beasley. I am not saying that Sanchez is a quarterback whisperer or anything like that. Prescott obviously deserves the credit for the way he played as a rookie. However, it is clear that Sanchez helped him along the way.

After the Sanchez signing on Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN put out a Tweet that has gotten a lot of attention.

Schefter is likely saying that he believes that the Bears think they are set at the quarterback position. However, I just do not see how this can be the case. Glennon is a completely unproven starter who is essentially on a one-year deal and Sanchez is not at the point of his career where he can seriously compete as a starter. David Fales isn’t even on the Bears’ roster and while Connor Shaw showed a bit of upside last year, he is not anything more than a flyer at the position.

The Bears could decide to pass up the quarterbacks with the third overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. I personally think Deshaun Watson should be the choice, but it would be hard to argue against a blue-chip defender like Jamal Adams or Solomon Thomas. But it is not hard to imagine them taking a quarterback early. In fact, one could argue that they must take a quarterback in the top two rounds.

Whether that is at number three, trading back and targeting one, trading into the late first round or taking one with their second round pick, it is easy to envision a scenario where the Bears take a quarterback.

Having Sanchez in the fold would only help the progression of a rookie quarterback. The Chicago Bears taking a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft is probably more likely after the Sanchez signing.