Let the Nick and Mitch saga begin

The Bears wanted a quarterback competition and they got one. Whether there's an actual payoff to be had is another matter altogether.

Good morning, frents

Thank you to everyone who dropped by our first Midway Meetup on Hot Mic last night. It was a lot of fun and great to talk with so many of you.

Already looking forward to the next one …

Chicago Bears: “Here goes nothing”

If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have a quarterback.

That old NFL axiom quickly went through my mind after seeing the Bears had acquired Nick Foles from the Jaguars on Wednesday afternoon.

“Nah,” I quickly tweeted. “That ain’t it.”

It’s now the morning after and I’ve tried to talk myself into the trade, believing it doesn’t deserve the knee-jerk scorn that the Jimmy  Graham signing got and deserved.

But yeah, I still don’t think it’s it.

The best I can come up with is this: We can be happy the Bears aren’t pushing off into 2020 with Trubisky as their only option, but there’s still not much reason to arrange for a band at the sendoff.

That doesn’t mean I know what the Bears were supposed to do here. They went into the offseason looking for a veteran quarterback to push Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job. In Foles, they got perhaps the ultimate veteran quarterback out there. He’s a quick study, looks the part and will forever be lauded for not only stepping in to lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship but a playoff victory over the Bears a year later.

The best part of this deal is that the Bears have guaranteed that if (when?) Trubisky’s fourth season goes sideways — through either performance or health — they have someone better than Chase Daniel waiting in the wings. The Bears wanted a caretaker that can calmly benefit from a defense that should be fierce once again. They think they’re getting that in Foles, who was in the Chiefs quarterbacks room with Matt Nagy back in 2016. He’s also familiar with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and quarterbacks coach John DeFillipo after their stints with the Eagles.

But it comes at a cost. $21 million in guaranteed money and the fourth-round compensatory the team just picked up. The Bears are spending starting quarterback money for a backup quarterback who’s been in the league since 2012 and never played a full 16-game season. They’re paying a guy who the Jaguars gave a four-year, $88 million deal to just last offseason, only to be happy to quickly move onto a sixth-round pick named  Gardner Minshew. Every Jaguar fan out there owes Ryan Pace a fruit basket for getting their team out of that deal.

Would Andy Dalton have been able to give the Bears a similar solution at a cheaper price? We’ll find out in the days ahead. Case Keenum got a deal from the Browns that was for a reported three-years, $18 million, though I’m not going to argue if you think he’s a rich man’s Chase Daniel.

Who ends up starting for the Bears in Week 1? At least one sportsbook believes Foles is the heavy favorite, putting his moneyline odds at -667 with Trubisky at a value-laden +450 if you believe Pace won’t run for the lifeboats that quickly.

But whoever gets the nod will be leading a ship that just spent most of its salary cap room on a tight end with a fork in his back and a quarterback who’s only started a total of 13 regular season games since 2016. The Week 1 starter sure better hope that Anthony Miller turns into the next coming of Antonio Brown (only on the field, please) and someone like Dion Sims can save the tight end position.

Then that quarterback also needs to hope that Pace can find offensive line help in a draft where he doesn’t hold a first-round pick. Those are too many things that need to fall into place for my liking.

It should be for yours too.

What I’m left with is this: The sizable anti-Mitch crowd in this town is sure to love this deal. Foles passes the name test and that Super Bowl MVP award is enough to blind the fact that I’m not even sure he outplayed Trubisky in that playoff game at Soldier Field the following year*.

* Foles in that game: 25-40, 266 yards, two TDs, two INTs
Trubisky: 26-43, 303 yards, one TD, no INTs

Me? I’m more depressed the Bears made that monumental mistake with Trubisky in the 2017 draft and that it continues to spur bad decision making three springs later.

They now just have two regular Joes under center, neither of which is clearly better than the other, one of which is going to pull a huge paycheck and both of whom I think are destined to just become names on that list of crappy Bears quarterbacks that grows longer by the year.

Have a link for Midway Minute? Email me!

Adam Jahns believes the Foles move makes it clear the Bears are operating in a win-now window. (The Athletic)

An Eagles fan’s view of the Foles trade. (Windy City Gridiron)

• Nancy Armour thinks the Foles deal “seals a panicked offseason of missed opportunities.” (USA Today)

Dan Wiederer on the Bears’ poor track record with first-round picks. (Tribune)

The days of Gar Forman and the Bulls look like they’re over. (BN Bulls)

• There’s a report that MLB is considering canceling this year’s draft and international free agency as a way to save money during all the coronavirus damage. (Yahoo Sports)

• March was supposed to be Jason Benetti’s busiest time of the year. Not anymore, Scott Merkin writes. (MLB.com)


That’s it for today. And barring some huge Chicago sports news, probably it for the week. It’s been a wild few days. Going to get some rest and see you back here on Monday morning.  As always, thank you for being a #frentofthenewsletter.