Top QBs for Bears in 2021 After Reportedly Declining Trubisky's Contract Option

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 2, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 29: Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears looks to pass the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Bears defeated the Vikings 21-19. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Chicago Bears have declined the fifth-year option on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who the team picked second overall in the 2017 NFL draft.

That option declinecoupled with the addition of veteran quarterback Nick Folesmay signal the eventual end of Trubisky's time in Chicago after this year.

The former UNC quarterback has had an up-and-down pro career that saw a pronounced rise in 2018 when he helped lead the Bears to the NFC North title and a 12-4 regular-season record.

But Trubisky struggled in 2019, completing just 63.2 percent of his passes for 6.1 yards per attempt. The Bears went 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

If the Bears decide to go in a different direction, they should have a bevy of options at their disposal. Here's a quick look at them, led by someone already on the roster.


Nick Foles

The Bears traded a fourth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Foles, who lost his starting job to Gardner Minshew II last season. Foles then signed a restructured three-year, $24 million deal with Chicago, per Over the Cap.

Foles began the year as the Jags' starter in Week 1 but suffered a broken collarbone that forced him out for eight weeks. He returned midseason but saw Minshew take his job after a rough first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13.

The Super Bowl LII MVP and hero showed flashes of brilliance in late regular-season and postseason runs for the Philadelphia Eagles in place of the injured Carson Wentz in 2017 and 2018. Perhaps he'll get a chance to recreate that magic in the Windy City.


Quarterbacks Looking for a Long-Term Home

A handful of quarterbacks who made starts in 2019 have lost their jobs, including Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, Marcus Mariota, Jacoby Brissett and Josh Rosen.

The Carolina Panthers released Newton after nine seasons, and no team has picked up the 2015 NFL MVP as of yet. Newton suffered a Lisfranc injury that forced him to miss the final 14 games of last year, but when healthy, he's one of the game's most dynamic talents.

Winston signed a one-year deal to help back up Drew Brees on the New Orleans Saints depth chart. The former Florida State Seminole threw for 33 touchdowns but tossed 30 interceptions last year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a volatile fifth season with the franchise. It's possible a year under the tutelage of Brees could persuade teams to give Winston another chance.

Andy Dalton was released by Cincinnati after the Bengals took LSU's Joe Burrow with the first overall pick. Dalton helped lead the team to the playoffs in his first five seasons (2011-2015), but the entire team has fallen on hard times since, bottoming out in 2019 with a 2-14 record.

Marcus Mariota lost his job with the Tennessee Titans but found a home as a backup to Derek Carr on the Las Vegas Raiders. Mariota is signed to a two-year deal, but per Over the Cap, the Raiders can release him after 2020 without taking a dead money cap hit. If that happens, perhaps the Bears will consider the former Oregon Duck.

The Indianapolis Colts gave Jacoby Brissett a chance to take the starter's reins in 2018 following Andrew Luck's abrupt preseason retirement, but the Colts are going in a different direction after signing Philip Rivers to a one-year deal. Brissett will assuredly be playing elsewhere next year, giving Chicago the opportunity to inquire about the ex-North Carolina State star if need be.

Josh Rosen was one of the most highly touted quarterback prospects in the 2018 NFL draft, and he went 10th overall to the Arizona Cardinals. His stint there only lasted one year, however, as Arizona decided to take Oklahoma's Kyler Murray first overall in 2019 and flip Rosen for a second-round pick to the Miami Dolphins.

But Miami won't be his future home either, with the Fins picking Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall in the 2020 draft, signaling the beginning of a new era.

Rosen hasn't been given much of a chance to succeed in either Arizona or Miami. Chicago could be the place where Rosen gets a real fresh start.


Draft-Eligible Quarterbacks

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller listed four quarterbacks in his 2021 NFL mock draft: Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, North Dakota State's Trey Lance, Ohio State's Justin Fields and Georgia's Jamie Newman.

The Bears' 2020 season would likely have to completely bottom out for Chicago to have a chance at Lawrence, whom Miller pegs as the third overall pick in the 2021 draft.

Lawrence has led Clemson to back-to-back national title appearances, winning against Alabama in 2018.

The same sentiment for Lawrence may be the case for one or more of the others provided they enjoy successful 2020 college football seasons. Seeing players' stocks rise dramatically in just one season has occurred before, with Burrow an example this year.

Lance just guided North Dakota State to the Division I FCS title as a redshirt freshman following a 28-touchdown, no-interception year.

Fields accounted for 51 touchdowns (41 passing, 10 rushing) in his first full year as a starter at the collegiate level and led OSU to the College Football Playoff.

Newman, a transfer from Wake Forest, is expected to start for Georgia. The former Demon Deacon completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and added 574 rushing yards and six scores in 2019.