Mistakes by Bears front office would sabotage any QB
As the Bears approach the start of a challenging season, it's possible both these statements are true:
• Rookie quarterback Justin Fields gives the Bears the best chance to win, or at least stay competitive.
• The longer Fields sits and watches this year, the better he'll be set up to have a successful career.
The biggest issue with the Bears isn't Fields vs. Andy Dalton. It's whether any quarterback can do well with this team after all the front office blunders.
The Bears' specialty lately seems to be doubling down on bad decisions. The most obvious was the previous quarterback selection.
As everyone knows, not only did the Bears pick the wrong guy in Mitch Trubisky (at least compared to Patrick Mahomes), they needlessly gave up three picks to move up one spot in the draft. And yes, one of those picks was used to take Alvin Kamara. Where did he go in your fantasy draft?
So naturally when the Bears decided to draft another quarterback just four years later, they tossed three more draft picks into the payment basket, including next year's first-rounder.
Quarterback is the obvious example, but let's look at outside linebacker. In 2016, the Bears traded up in the first round to select Leonard Floyd. He was a decent player, didn't get a lot of sacks, and -- like Trubisky -- the Bears decided to move on once his rookie contract was up.
In response, the Bears signed free agent Robert Quinn from Dallas to a five-year, $70 million deal. His disappointing results in 2020 really shouldn't have been a surprise. Quinn recorded 11½ sacks for the Cowboys, but before that had four straight years of single-digit sacks. He did nothing in a game against the Bears late in the 2019 season.
Now Quinn is 31 and still owed a lot of money. It's not hard to connect the Bears overpaying for Quinn to the release of cornerback Kyle Fuller and tackle Charles Leno Jr.
The Bears attempted to replace Fuller with ex-Lion Desmond Trufant, but he didn't make the team. Is cornerback still an important spot for an NFL team or what?
Actually, Fuller had a pretty easy time last season, rarely seeing any passes come his way, because opposing teams schemed to catch linebacker Danny Trevathan in pass coverage. That's another player the Bears gave a new contract before the 2020 season and he'll start this year on injured reserve.
The Bears' pass coverage is bound to be a problem this season, and the safeties didn't provide very good run support last fall. Not to mention offensive tackle, which might be the team's most troubling spot right now.
This pessimistic attitude has nothing to do with Fields as a player. The problem is, whenever the Bears put him in the game, they'll be asking an inexperienced quarterback to elevate a team with a long list of flaws.
The reason quarterbacks like Mahomes, Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger won Super Bowls early in their careers is because they joined teams with Super Bowl-caliber rosters.
A team like Jacksonville can let No. 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence takes some lumps as a rookie and promise him things will get better. Is help on the way for Fields and the Bears? Not really. Their 2022 first-round pick, which might be top 10, belongs to the Giants and they could face some future dead cap issues with guys like Trevathan, Quinn and Jimmy Graham.
The schedule does the Bears no favors. They'll play the entire NFC West and AFC Central, which could be the league's two best divisions. On paper, this looks like a 5-11 campaign -- hold on, make that 6-11 or 5-12. Forgot about that 17th game in Vegas.
General manager Ryan Pace has made some good moves, mainly signing defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and receiver Allen Robinson as free agents. The trade for Khalil Mack cost the Bears two first-round picks, but at least he made the team better.
On the other hand, it's probably not a great sign that so many of the Bears' best players are guys who were drafted by other teams, not players drafted by Pace.
Cheer for Fields to get on the field if you want. Just don't expect him to clean up the mess created by the Bears' sloppy management.