Chicago Bears: Bizarre and rather ominous start to free agency

Nothing screams “NFL free agency” like chaos, pandemonium, and uncharted territory. And the Chicago Bears have already gotten involved in the festivities.

In what was one of the more eye-opening starts to the free agency tampering period, quite a few shocking trades and big-money contracts were agreed upon. It would seem the Chicago Bears are poking and prodding around as they try to wade these muddy waters, given they have been connected to just about any free-agent quarterback and possible trade targets.

Yesterday afternoon seemed to be the beginning of the excitement, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that Chicago was, in fact, having contract discussions with Teddy Bridgewater, a top of the list free agent signal-caller. If a deal was agreed upon, there was a very high chance that Mitchell Trubisky was finished in the Windy City. You can’t pay Bridgewater $21 million a year if he’s going to be the backup.

However, that news fizzled quickly as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network countered an hour later that talks had dissolved and there were “Other QB options in play there”. What other options?

Oh, like trading for Andy Dalton or Nick Foles!

Quite the dropoff in quality, but both would provide an adequate challenge for Trubisky. Or at the very least, keep the pressure on him until he would crack, and give way to the starting job. It would be the plan that the Tennesee Titans executed in the prior offseason à la the Ryan Tannehill trade. At the very least, it’s confirming every report over the last two months that we’ve heard about regarding the Bears needing competition for Trubisky.

Both deals for either quarterback would look vastly different, but the point isn’t to discuss what those deals would look like or what would a deal with Bridgewater would look like if he had a change of heart.

We’re here to talk about the Chicago Bears riding something of a roller coaster, with no end in sight.

If they haven’t already taken Trubisky’s confidence out back behind the shed to put it down like Old Yeller, they soon will. Ryan Pace openly said that Mitch was their starter back in December.

Guess you shouldn’t believe what you’re told.

At this point, Pace knows he needs to save his job. If he lets Trubisky run the show this year, he may as well begin to pack his belongings because that’s pure negligence towards a roster he spent four years tearing down and then building back up.

But sure! Just go ahead and give Jimmy Graham $9 million GUARANTEED!

This deal is so befuddling I really have no idea what else to say. I do think there are silver linings (I think):

  • He hasn’t missed a game since 2015
  • Outproduced all 50 Bears tight ends in 2019 from a statistical standpoint
  • Is quite possibly the best tight end on their current roster (that felt wrong to type out)
  • Was technically cut by the Packers so he wouldn’t count against their Compensatory pick formula

Paying him that much money isn’t the end of the world, even though that’s money that could have been spent elsewhere. But from a fit standpoint, I have a hard time seeing the logic. I can’t tell if I find it comical or just the worst signing* of the day. It just feels so out of place. Graham has fallen off big time and moves like he’s stuck in quicksand. I don’t even think I could tell you what his role would be in Matt Nagy’s offense (just don’t have him block…or catch for that matter).

*It might be the worst signing of the day, but it’s not the worst transaction of the day (Bill O’Brien gets that distinction for ruining the Houston Texans)

Next: Chicago Sports: Best moments of the last 30 years

I can’t tell if quarantining and social distancing has made me delusional or maybe I’m starting to feel the effects of Cabin Fever, but this is one of the strangest opening days for the Bears free agency period in years. Going from a Teddy Bear to Jimmy Graham. Hard to really get a grip on the roller coaster when it has a mind of its own.

Can’t wait for more.