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posted: 5/13/2014 5:18 AM

What if Bears had gambled on McCown and Manziel?

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  • Cleveland Browns draft pick Johnny Manziel, right, was taken with the 22nd pick in the first round of last week's NFL draft. Mike North believes he has a bright future as a pro quarterback.

    Cleveland Browns draft pick Johnny Manziel, right, was taken with the 22nd pick in the first round of last week's NFL draft. Mike North believes he has a bright future as a pro quarterback.
    Associated Press


I was really looking forward to the first night of the NFL draft because I couldn't wait to find out which player the Chicago Bears took, and when quarterback Johnny Manziel would be selected.

The Bears' first-round pick at No. 14 was, of course, a defensive player: cornerback Kyle Fuller.

But with "Touchdown Johnny" Manziel still available at that point, my mind started wandering, which it does on a consistent basis.

Please, hear me out for a minute. What if the Bears hadn't give quarterback Jay Cutler that seven-year contract with its $50 million guaranteed?

Let's say they had kept Josh "Big Game" McCown by giving him a two-year contract work $5 million a year, and then spent the remaining $40 million improving the defense?

You know where I am going, right?

They then could have selected Manziel to work with McCown, and he would be ready to take over in a couple of years.

So let me review: Cutler and his $50 million deal are gone, McCown would be the starter, Manziel would be the quarterback in waiting, and with the money leftover the Bears' defense gets well quick with one or two defensive players.

The way the Bears are currently constructed, Cutler might play just more three years. Can they be successful? Maybe. After all, Cutler and the offense are capable of putting up 28 points a game and, with the some defensive improvements, they could make some noise and win a round or two in the playoffs.

But with Green Bay, Detroit and Minnesota in the division, it won't be easy.

For the Bears to be successful with backup quarterback Jordan Palmer and running back Jordan Lynch on board, then Cutler better stay healthy. The chances of that happening, however, are slim if you consider the injury issues in his past.

And if Cutler moves on in three more years, who will be the Bears quarterback then?

Wouldn't it be nice to know they had Manziel waiting in the wings to take over?

I know, I know, the die-hard Bears fans will say I'm nuts, which maybe I am. And honestly, I'm happy with the addition of Fuller to the team, but it would have been intriguing to explore another direction without Cutler. McCown's phenomenal play last year still makes me believe he should not have lost his starting job when Cutler returned from his injury.

If the Bears don't get it done in the next three season, where will the offense be in 2017? Probably where the defense is now -- a big question mark.

I wonder if the Bears would have done it differently if they knew Manziel would be still available at their pick. We will never know.

The Bears have a plan, of course, but how many times have we heard that?

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter@ north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio. Catch my show from 7-11 a.m. Sundays, and check me out on iHeart radio or

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at For more, visit

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