Whether or not you follow the Chicago Bears, any NFL fan could see the organization has a glaring hole in it: the quarterback position. The plan to trade up in the 2017 draft to acquire Mitchell Trubisky has failed. Here, in 2020, the organization has traded for veteran quarterback Nick Foles. Foles is a Super Bowl MVP; he also broke his collarbone and lost his starting job to a sixth-round pick last year. The Bears may look to the draft to find their next guy behind center.
Enter, Jalen Hurts.
This article isn’t saying Jalen Hurts to the Bears is a guarantee. Many experts project Hurts to go all over the place. This is meant more to show how Hurts could or could not be wearing blue and orange come next fall. Here are the arguments for and against Jalen Hurts on the Bears.
Argument #1: Lack of Offense
The Chicago Bears ranked 29th overall in the league last year, and a large portion of that was due to the quarterback play. Hurts development during his final collegiate season at Oklahoma benefited him; he could be exactly what the Bears need. Some have even compared him to the likes of Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray: a dynamic athlete both in the pocket and out in the open field.
His success on the field showed as a passer: 3,851 yards, 32 touchdowns, and an overall completion percentage of 69.1%, according to 24/7 Sports.
At Oklahoma, Hurts was able to improve his overall passing. His improvement on timing and anticipation changed drastically. His placement on deep passes also got better, an area where Trubisky struggled last season.
COUNTER ARGUMENT #1: OTHER DRAFT NEEDS
The quarterback spot isn’t the only area the Bears need to address this coming draft.
There’s a need to improve the interior offensive line, specifically finding a potential replacement for Kyle Long. The team also lost their starting cornerback Prince Amukamara and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in free agency, as well as other key rotational players on defense.
With little cap space left after the signings of players like Jimmy Graham and Robert Quinn, the draft will be where general manager Ryan Pace looks to next. The team has only six total selections, so it’s more likely they’ll prioritize other gaps than invest in the quarterback of the future (again). If anything, the team would use a sixth or seventh-round pick on a guy they could have as a project quarterback.
There’s also concerns with Hurts and the way he handles pressure, as well as his overall throwing motion. He also has a lot of one-read looks, which Trubisky already has an issue with. The Bears may not want another guy who struggles with that.
Argument #2: Pace’s Signings
After going through the moves that Pace has made so far, it seems obvious that the team is in win-now mode. Bringing in a veteran like Foles who knows the system and can win in important games looks like a team not trying to draft Hurts.
The thing is that the Foles experiment could be a one-and-done deal. If the Bears wanted to, they could cut Foles after a year and deal with the dead cap. Foles is only guaranteed one year in his 3-year deal, as he can void the other two years should things go south.
Now take a look at the other Bears signings. Jimmy Graham was expensive, but he’s not the tight end of the future. This seems more like a move to get another veteran on the offensive side of things who could play a teaching role.
Perhaps to help develop a certain Oklahoma quarterback?
The rest of Pace’s moves have been strictly defense. If Pace wanted to, he could’ve signed players to bolster the line or add depth at wide receiver. Instead, he improved an already Super Bowl-caliber defense.
It seems like similar moves to what Pace did in 2018. Build the defense, find veterans on offense, and bring in the guy of the future. Hurts would find tons of use from guys like Nick Foles, Allen Robinson, and Jimmy Graham, as well as help bring stardom into younger players like Anthony Miller and David Montgomery, who both showed flashes of potential, but poor offense prevented them from shining. Some time under quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo could also push Hurts to all-star level.
Counter-Argument #2: Same Plan, Different Guy
Take everything from above, and now insert Nick Foles or Mitchell Trubisky. These moves could just be looking to help either transition Foles into the best situation possible or give Trubisky one last chance to be the quarterback everyone hoped he could be. With Nagy and DeFilippo helping out, either guy could be presented with an offense that can win games, especially with a defense that dominates.
Counter-Argument #3: The Mind of Pace
Pace is tricky. He says one thing and means another.
In 2017, the Bears signed quarterback Mike Glennon to a large contract. In a press conference, Pace said Glennon is the starter without committing to him as QB1. His words didn’t match his thoughts.
Weeks later, Mitchell Trubisky was selected #2 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. The rest is history.
Pace could very well be doing the exact same thing here. He kept a consistent statement when addressing Trubisky: he would be the Bears starting come next season. He never went into any more detail.
Here’s the commonality: both times the Bears had one quarterback on the roster. Said player both years would HAVE to start because no one else could. Even with the Foles trade, Pace could be hiding a lucrative plan to prepare for the coming of a new quarterback, one who made a strong case for Heisman after being benched a year prior.
Counter-Argument #3: The End of Pace in Chicago
If you go all-in on a player, trade future capital for him, spend tons of money to improve all sides of the ball, to only then see him fail, that looks bad as a GM.
Pace went all-in on Trubisky. Going all-in on Hurts means that Trubisky would likely be heading out. Followed right behind him could very well be Pace. This organization couldn’t afford to rebuild after a 12-4 season in 2018. The hopes for playoffs and even the Super Bowl were within grasp so long ago. It now seems like it’s farther away than ever.
Unless Pace is planning on a whole new rebuild, he has to find a way to build a team that can win the division again. Hurts may not be the solution to that: there are so many unknowns when it comes to drafting players. Pace is likely locked with what he has at his disposal.
Hurts or No Hurts?
There’s plenty of arguments as to whether or not Jalen Hurts will join the Bears. While many experts have him falling to the Bears at pick #43 or #50, many say he could go earlier or later in the second round. Recent rumors have him off to the Las Vegas Raiders, while some experts have tossed around the Tennessee Titans or New Orleans Saints. Foles could also be drafted to sit a year and develop as well; there shouldn’t be pressured to put him in unless an injury arises or he’s 100% ready. Whether or not Jalen Hurts goes to the Bears, he’s got the talent to be an NFL quarterback, ready to lead any team to victory come Sunday.
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