This is one of the more bizarre off-seasons in Bears history.
It began with a year-end presser that sent Chicago sports radio into a tizzy and made the word “collaboration” a punchline. (The reaction to this presser was quintessential Chicago media. I’ve never heard so much unwarranted weeping into handkerchiefs.)
It then became about two star quarterbacks on the market: Deshaun Watson and Russell Willson. The excitement around the former has been muted by his evil organization’s reluctance to answer their landlines and the lawsuits now developing around the quarterback. (If you don’t think Watson’s legal troubles originate inside the Texans, you’re not paying attention. These are bad people.)
The excitement around the latter came to a crashing halt on Tuesday, with the Seahawks balking at a deal that had been negotiated for weeks and Andy Dalton signing in Chicago.
But is the Wilson deal dead? Adam Schefter sure doesn’t think so and any conversation about how the Bears need to approach quarterback between now and opening day starts with that question.
“I don’t think it’s done, no. I don’t think I’m ready to say Russell Wilson is a Seahawk, will be a Seahawk.”pic.twitter.com/cI3r6vUCK3
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 17, 2021
Until the Seahawks and Wilson make a public commitment to each other and the 2021 season, such a commitment does not exist. What we know:
- Russell Wilson doesn’t want to be on the Seahawks any longer.
- GM John Schneider was willing to let the quarterback leave.
- Head coach Pete Carroll was not.
The Bears should keep calling, and keep increasing their offer, until that commitment is made or until the weekend of the draft. At the same time, the team should not lose sight of Watson.
No, the Texans haven’t engaged a single team in trade talks. And yes, the six lawsuits coming Watson’s way will complicate his value on the market. But two things to remember. (1) The Texans WILL trade Watson. (2) Nobody will remember these civil suits exist in a few months. The Bears showed with their offer to Seattle – three first round picks PLUS – they will offer what it takes to acquire a franchise quarterback. They should do the same for Watson. And then some.
Because then comes the draft, where the debate will be which of the young quarterbacks is worth the Bears moving up to acquire. But shouldn’t the debate be whether or not Ryan Pace will be allowed to mortgage future selections to acquire a quarterback at all? If the Bears move up for a QB, it’s unlikely that guy will play in 2021. Unless the team is firmly committed to this leadership beyond next season, do you really want to potentially saddle the next guys with a quarterback they may or may not want? Didn’t the Bears literally just do this?
This is why it’s understandable to be torn. If the Bears do not acquire Watson or Wilson, they absolutely must draft a quarterback. But with the top guys flying up draft boards, they would likely need to make a Wilson-like offer to get into that position. This would be a move that defines the franchise for the next five years, just as the Trubisky pick did, made by men who might not be with the franchise in 9 months. There is no risk too great when it comes to finding a franchise quarterback. But that one is about as close as it gets.
This is why the Bears must absolutely exhaust the Watson and Wilson scenarios before the Urban Meyer gets on the clock.