Already labeled a bust at just 26 years of age, quarterback Jimmy Clausen is getting a chance to redeem himself in the NFL.
The former Notre Dame and Carolina Panthers signal-caller agreed to a deal with the Chicago Bears Thursday afternoon, as his quarterback coach, Steve Clarkson, first reported:
Clausen then confirmed the news:
This doesn't exactly alter the landscape of the NFL. Clausen, a second-round pick in 2010, played in 13 games for the Panthers as a rookie, completing 52.5 percent of his throws for three touchdowns and nine interceptions. He never took another regular-season snap and was waived/injured last August due to a torn labrum.
However, Clausen is intent on making an impact in this league.
"The only thing I can ask for is an opportunity," he recently told USA Today's Tom Pelissero. "A legit opportunity to compete to be a No. 2 and hopefully work my way up."
In Chicago, he'll get just that.
Nothing is going to dislodge Jay Cutler from the starting role, but after Josh McCown's departure to Tampa Bay, the backup job is wide-open. Clausen will immediately enter a competition with Jordan Palmer and sixth-round draft pick David Fales for the Nos. 2 and 3 spots on the depth chart.
As if the Bears offering a contract wasn't already enough proof, Clausen's injury doesn't seem to be an issue moving forward.
"I'm still really young," he said. "I'm going into my fifth year in the league. I feel great. This is probably right now the healthiest I've been since my junior year in college, to be honest with you."
While Clausen was miserable in his first stint in the NFL, there's no reason for the Bears not to take this low-risk gamble on the once highly sought-after quarterback.
It's beneficial for both sides, too, as Clausen will get to work under Marc Trestman, one of the league's best QB coaches, who got over 4,000 passing yards and a combined QB rating of 96.9 out of Cutler and McCown last season.
Moreover, as the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs noted, the two have a slight history:
This isn't likely to affect much, but in terms of June free-agent acquisitions, you aren't going to find much more upside.
Perhaps Clausen flames out again and is cut before the start of the regular season. Perhaps he grabs hold of this second chance and develops into a serviceable backup.
If it's the former, no big loss. If it's the latter, this turns into a savvy pickup that fills a hole on the roster for Phil Emery and his staff.