Our ears perked up and our minds began to wonder: Who is the quarterback the Chicago Bears are trying to get that we don’t know about?
The secret: The player doesn’t exist.
Both Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace made obvious reference to there possibly being something in the works that has not been reported in the media. The fan base and media reacted exactly as the Bears intended. The hope is that other teams – namely Seattle – would too.
The popular name circulated has been Matt Ryan, but Atlanta would have to eat $44 million in dead cap if they traded Ryan and the return certainly wouldn’t be significant enough to justify that. Once they put themselves in position to pull off that trade, the price would likely be comparable to what the Eagles got for Carson Wentz; maybe less considering Ryan’s age. They’re in an obvious position to try and win now, while building for the future. They have pieces to make Arthur Smith’s first season a success and then focus on the future. Trading Ryan for not much while eating a ton of cap space doesn’t make sense.
We’ve heard the other names. Sam Darnold, Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr, Russ Wilson and Deshaun Watson. We know they were in on Matt Stafford and we know they checked in on Carson Wentz before passing.
The way both Nagy and Pace mentioned the mystery quarterback was just too obvious for a team that doesn’t ever operate in an obvious way. They didn’t wink at us then trade up for Mitch Trubisky; they didn’t give us high fives before trading for Kahlil Mack.
The intent of those comments was to make us think there was something in the works – maybe even something big – but we weren’t the intended audience. The Bears want the rest of the league to know they are making moves.
Don’t mistake those comments for a waste of breath. It was a sign that the Bears are negotiating. Other teams aren’t merely answering their calls as a courtesy. The Bears have a target – maybe more than one – and they want the other teams to think they could walk away from the table.