Roster Overhaul: Quarterbacks

o·ver·haul– to take apart in order to examine and repair if necessary.

In this 9 part series, each position group on the Chicago Bears roster will be broken down and evaluated to see where the biggest holes are and what changes can be made this offseason.

Part 1: Quarterbacks(5)

1.Jay Cutler- Currently under contract through 2020, Cutler is the only quarterback on the Bears roster that does not have an expiring contract following the 2016 season. However, Cutler is far from having a secured roster spot in 2017. There is no more guaranteed money in Cutler’s 7 year, $126,700,000 contract he signed several years ago so it wouldn’t cost the team anything to cut ties with him before the league year starts on March 9th.

  • How he stays: Cutler is due $12.5 million next year, which is very reasonable for starting quarterbacks these days. However, I don’t see him being much more than a bridge quarterback for a young rookie the team would  groom in 2017.
  • How he leaves: If the Bears trade for Jimmy Garopollo instead of drafting a young QB then there would be no reason to keep Cutler around. Cutler has been up down, to say the least, since the team traded for him in 2009. It seems the time for Cutler to leave is well overdue and it’s time for Chicago to move on.

2. Brian Hoyer- After one season with the Bears, Hoyer is set to become a Free Agent. The 31-year-old quarterback has been merely a journeyman throughout his career, playing for 6 teams in his 8 years in the league. He has started 31 games as well as 1 postseason game with the Texans in 2015. He’s not terrible, but he’s not the answer going forward for the Bears.

  • How he stays: The Bears would have to bring back Hoyer on a reasonable contract to either back up a quarterback the team brings in via trade or Free Agency, or be a bridge quarterback to a rookie the team drafts this April.
  • How he leaves: If the Bears decide to keep Cutler around or bring in a veteran, it seems inevitable Hoyer will be looking elsewhere for employment.

3. Matt Barkley- After three years of flailing out in Philadelphia and Arizona, Barkley joined the Bears practice squad before the start of the 2016 regular season. Due to injuries from the position, Barkley was brought up to the 53-man roster and eventually thrust into action on the back half of the season. At times, Barkley looked more promising than one would expect, but he ended up being more of a turnover machine than Jay Cutler.

  • How he stays: The only way Barkley stays is if the Bears bring him back on a veteran minimum contract and he gets a chance to compete for the back up role or if the team keeps three quarterbacks. If Barkley is brought back, expect him to be on the roster bubble.
  • How he leaves: Barkley’s 8 touchdowns to 14 interceptions might leave a bad taste in General Manager Ryan Pace’s mouth and he may choose to look elsewhere at the position.

4 & 5. Connor Shaw and David Fales: Shaw and Fales appeared in a few preseason games this year before Shaw broke his leg and Fales was released. I do not expect the team to bring back Fales and if the team were to bring back Shaw I do not expect him to make the roster in 2017.

Free Agents Bears Could Target

  1. Kirk Cousins, WAS– It doesn’t appear that Cousins will get out of Washington, at the very least on a franchise tag. If the Redskins move on, expect the Bears to come running for the 29-year-old Pro Bowl QB.
  2. Mike Glennon, TB The 27-year-old former starting quarterback of the Buccaneers has spent the last two seasons backing up Jameis Winston. Glennon has a career completion percentage of 59.4% and has thrown 30 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. If Cousins stays in Washington, Glennon appears to be the top target at the position but still has a lot to prove.
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ- A pure journeyman. Fitzpatrick makes a lot of splash plays at times but is incredibly inconsistent. He’s 34 and nothing but a bridge quarterback at this point in his career. The Bears are better off with Cutler or Hoyer, but all options are on the table.

Quarterbacks The Bears Could Target via Trade

  1. Jimmy Garopollo, NE- As I wrote in “Bears Appear to be Front-Runners for Garopollo,” the Bears could be in the race to trade for the former 2nd round quarterback out of Eastern Illinois. He has shown promising attributes of a starting NFL quarterback and would shore up the position heading forward.

Quarterbacks The Bears Could Target in the Draft

  1. Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina- Many scouts have Trubisky as their #1 quarterback off the board. He’s 6’3″ and built to withstand physical challenges. He also has great ability to move around in the pocket and has a crisp delivery. If the Browns and 49ers pass up on him, expect the Bears to consider pulling the trigger at #3 overall.
  2. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame- In Matt Miller’s most recent mock draft, he projects the 49ers grabbing Trubisky at #2 and Kizer to the Bears at #3. Miller says Kizer has a “big arm” and displays “excellent touch and timing and possesses the athleticism to be a threat on the move” but also explains how he is no sure thing with the third pick in the draft.
  3. Deshaun Watson, Clemson-  The Clemson standout has incredible poise and athleticism and throws well on the run. One of the concerns with Watson is his 30 interceptions over the last two seasons which won’t fly in the NFL. I don’t see the Bears taking him at #3 but if they were to trade back a little bit in the draft they could pull the trigger.

Follow along over the next couple of months during this 9 part series as I diagnose the position groups for the Bears heading into the 2017 NFL season.

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