Bears rumors: Mitchell Trubisky could return in 2021

By Matt Johnson
Dec 20, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Bears rumors: The Chicago Bears declined Mitchell Trubisky’s fifth-year option this offseason, lacking confidence that he could be their long-term starter. With the young quarterback closing out his 2020 season on a high note, things could get costly for the Bears.

Just a few weeks after Trubisky was brought off the bench, with Chicago’s season seemingly lost and Matt Nagy’s job in jeopardy, he could now be the Bears’ savior. With the team controlling its own destiny to make the playoffs, thanks to their quarterback’s recent stretch of success, things could get interesting this offseason in Chicago.

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Bears rumors: Chicago could re-sign Mitchell Trubisky this offseason

Mitchell Trubisky was named Chicago’s starting quarterback to open the season. However, even amid the team’s undefeated start, he was sent to the bench in Week 3.

The Bears made him the starter once more in November, giving him one more shot to prove he can be a capable NFL starter. He immediately struggled, drawing mockery from NFL fans. But, with the team sitting at 5-7 heading into Week 14, it stuck by the 26-year-old quarterback.

Chicago’s decision has paid off even better than it could have hoped for. The Bears have won consecutive games and the Arizona Cardinals’ Week 16 loss puts a wild card spot in this team’s hands. Meanwhile, the recent stretch is also leading many around the league to gain some confidence in Trubisky.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, multiple NFL executives believe Trubisky is playing some of the best football in his career and the Bears may now re-sign him this offseason.

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It becomes even more likely if Chicago wins out to make the playoffs. While a few weeks ago it seemed like a guarantee that both Nagy and Trubisky would be gone this offseason, things change quickly in the NFL. Frankly, it now might be a surprise if both aren’t back in Chicago next season.

Bears rumors: Mitchell Trubisky’s free-agent outlook and potential contract

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With the Dallas Cowboys expected to retain Dak Prescott, the free-agent quarterback class this offseason isn’t particularly attractive. Cam Newton looks like a shell of his former self, Philip Rivers just turned 39 and Andy Dalton is nothing more than a fill-in starter.

Given Trubisky’s draft pedigree and physical talent, he might have already attracted interested as a reclamation project. With his performance over the past three weeks, teams will be willing to spend even more money on him.

  • Mitchell Trubisky stats (first five games): 58.3% completion rate, 9/5 TD/INT ratio, 83.0 quarterback rating, 6.08 yards per attempt
  • Mitchell Trubisky stats (last three games): 73.86% completion rate, 5/1 TD/INT ratio, 112.7 quarterback rating, 8.36 yards per attempt

The Bears have made this offense much easier for Trubisky, building a run-heavy offense that emphasizes play-action passes and quick throws. As a result, the Bears have scored 99 total points over their past three games and scored 30-plus in each contest.

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If Trubisky keeps this up, Chicago can’t afford to let him walk in free agency. It will be sitting too far back in the 2021 NFL Draft order to land a top quarterback prospect and the free-agent options all carry question marks. So, retaining Trubisky becomes the best option under the circumstances.

Over the Cap estimates the franchise tag for a quarterback will be $23.5 million next season, a figure that reflects a 2021 salary cap dip to $176 million. It would be a huge pay raise for Trubisky and there’s risk in it for Chicago. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, keeping Trubisky on the franchise tag might be the only option. One thing is for certain, the Bears might now regret declining that fifth-year option.