Hey, Bears fans, who do you want at quarterback next year?
Want Jay Cutler back? He’s put up some of the best seasons any Bears’ quarterback ever has.
Want Jimmy Garoppolo? Local boy. Northwest suburbs. In-state college (Eastern Illinois). Currently backup to the GOAT, according to some, approaching limited free agency. Has a Super Bowl ring…
But Cutler—forget his record (.500). Forget that he’s had five offensive coordinators, three head coaches and now three general managers. As far as Cutler is concerned, where are the Bears going to get a better QB? Matt Barkley, left over from last year? Not. David Fales, on and off the roster for three years? Not. He’s Mr. Emergency only.
So, how do you determine the right quarterback, what to give up for him—if anything—and when to pull the trigger?
The Broncos gave up on Cutler and sent him to the Bears for a song. Tim Tebow wound up eventually taking the Broncos to the playoffs, and a win over the Steelers, before they replaced him with Peyton Manning, a Hall-of-Famer who took four tries to get to the Super Bowl, but only won it playing as half the master QB he once was, the defense doing all the work. Tebow couldn’t have done that? Really?
Now it looks like Cutler will go to the Jets, where his former Denver quarterback whisperer, Jeremy Bates, is now the Jets QB coach and favorite receiver ever Brandon Marshall is already on the roster. Hmm… Want him, Jets fans? Want his disinterested demeanor? His seeming inconsistencies? Or want him reunited in what could become a resurrection for the New York Broncos—er, uh, Jets?
Or, should the Jets have held on to Tim Tebow when it was their turn to flirt with him? Would Chip Kelly still have a job in Philadelphia if he’d inserted Tebow as his quarterback? He’d have been perfect for Kelly’s hurry-up, speed-it-up, no-skill-required offense.
But who should the Bears go for? Tom Brady was not a first-round pick. Nor was Drew Brees. Or Kirk Cousins. Or Brock Osweiler. Not Dak Prescott either. Especially Prescott. Nor Colin Kaepernick, for that matter, although he almost won a Super Bowl. Brees and Brady have.
Sam Bradford hasn’t. Matt Ryan hasn’t. Tebow hasn’t. Russell Wilson has. The first three were first-round picks. Wilson was not. Brett Favre was not. Blake Bortles and Jameis Winston were. How are they doing?
In the end, drafting a quarterback is a crapshoot. Sixth-rounders can win Super Bowls without taking nary a snap in college. First-rounders—first picks overall—have not. Many of them have not (Tim Couch, RG III, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers—the latter two despite very impressive career statistics).
Eli Manning has won. Two. Nyeh, Nyeh San Diego—uh, Los Angeles Chargers.
So, how do you know what quarterback to go for—draft, trade or sign? And more importantly, which one not to? What should the Jets give up to get Cutler? What should the Bears give up to get Garoppolo? Will they get a better quarterback with the No. 3 pick in the draft this year—which they hold—or will surrendering it for Garoppolo give them a championship-ready, championship-groomed quarterback for years to come?
Chicago will celebrate mightily that a native son is being brought home. All they way up until they miss the playoffs and realize he’s not playing in the Belichick system anymore. In the Josh McDaniels, Offensive Coordinator mold anymore. Or in the shadow of all those Lombardi trophies in the halls at Patriots headquarters.
They’re not going to get a first-round pick for Cutler. Not with Cutler’s record, salary and demeanor, as we mentioned. At least his public demeanor. And what guarantee do they have that Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson or Brad Kaaya will be the quarterback of the future who takes them to a Super Bowl? Hey, Rex Grossman did.
Lost to that Manning guy. Peyton, that is. The one who got his second ring by letting the defense do all the work.
Eli had to complete two impossible pass plays to get his. Can Cutler do that? Can Garoppolo?