The Chicago Bears may not be in the market for a big-name free-agent quarterback, but they should be.
It does not appear as though the Chicago Bears will be big-game hunting for a quarterback when free agency officially kicks off in March. This is true despite some high-profile names on the market, like Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, and to a lesser extent, Jameis Winston. However, one additional name that likely won’t be targeted by Ryan Pace, but absolutely should be, is Teddy Bridgewater, for the reasons laid out below.
First, let’s quickly recap why such a move is unlikely. Bears insider Brad Biggs opined earlier this week that his own opinion is that the Bears are committed to Mitchell Trubisky as their starter and might look to bring in a backup via trade. He believes it is unlikely they would “reset” the quarterback room with a big-time name who could supplant Mitch.
This came out around the same time as a story from NBCSports Chicago’s JJ Stankevitz, which essentially said something similar, that the Bears will not (and should not) expend significant financial resources on a nig name quarterback like those above, or others who could become available like Nick Foles, Cam Newton, Derek Carr, or even Dak Prescott.
If you’re one to read the tea leaves, you might be starting to put together the fact that these insiders are likely foreshadowing what will actually occur. However, Bridgewater should be the exception to these general theses.
Let’s start by challenging the notion that Bridgewater will command $30 million per year. Earlier in the week, on 670 The Score, Mike Florio rebuked the report that Bridgewater was looking for $30 million per year. He claimed that the report did not originate with Teddy or anyone in his camp, but rather, it likely came from an agent (or agents) representing other quarterbacks who are trying to scare QB-needy teams away from Bridgewater.
Now let’s assume that number is something much more manageable like say $20 million, which is his market value according to Spotrac. This would be a fair price for a quarterback who would be the best of the “reasonable options.” The costs of the other big-name free agents would surely be prohibitive, but $20 million for an experienced veteran who had considerable success last year, and is universally beloved in the locker room, seems more than fair.
Heck, if the Bears decided to pick up Trubisky’s fifth-year option, it would cost them around $24 million. So getting a guy like Bridgewater for $4 million less than it would cost to bring back Trubisky in year five, seems like a no-brainer. Of course, the Bears would perhaps have to get creative structuring the rest of the deal, but the point is, it’s likely doable.
Six months ago, the idea of bringing Bridgewater on to replace Mitch was not that appealing. However, after watching their respective seasons, the idea has grown on me. The Bears would be wise to get in the mix before this Super Bowl window vanishes.