by Adnan Basic / Head Copy Editor
The 2020/21 NFL season came to a close a few weeks ago as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. There’s no rest for the wicked, though, as the eyes of football fans across the planet turned towards the upcoming offseason.
The Chicago Bears are no different. This last year was a disappointing one, with the team losing in the first round of the playoffs after barely sneaking into the postseason to begin with. The defense was as solid as usual, but the franchise’s seemingly eternal issues at quarterback reared its ugly head once again.
If the Bears want any chance of improving in 2021, they’ll need to find a solution to their quarterback problems. Fortunately for them, it seemed like they had the most appropriate person for the job available to them, even if he wasn’t necessarily the right man for it.
That person would have been Carson Wentz.
The former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has had an interesting career. Taken with the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, there were high hopes for the North Dakota State product. It seemed like he was quickly living up to expectations, as he was an MVP candidate in only his second year as a professional.
Things went bad really quickly, though. Wentz tore his ACL with only a few weeks left to go in the regular season, and the injury ruled him out for the rest of the year. In an interesting turn of events, backup Nick Foles managed to lead the team to a Super Bowl title in Wentz’s absence, causing a quarterback controversy in Philly.
Foles eventually left, and the Eagles signed Wentz to a four-year, $128 million contract despite the fact that he didn’t look like the same player as he was before his injury. That decision didn’t really pay off, as Wentz just kept getting hurt. Even when he did play, he didn’t play at a level that was worthy of the money he was getting.
It all came to a head this past season. Wentz went from above average to downright awful. He was making careless mistakes with the football, committing turnover after turnover. His poor play led to an opening weekend loss to the Washington Football Team even though Philadelphia were up 17-0 at one stage. He just wasn’t as dynamic as before since he didn’t trust his body enough to scramble. As a result, he was sacked time and time again. Wentz didn’t have much help, but the blame was still put on his shoulders since he was the quarterback making most of the money.
He was eventually benched for rookie Jalen Hurts, which was a decision that angered Wentz. He refused to be the backup, and it became clear that a move away is what both him and the Eagles needed.
That’s where the Bears would have come into play.
Seemingly eternally cursed at the quarterback position, Chicago comes into this offseason in search of a replacement once again.
It’s very unlikely that either of the two starters last season, Mitch Trubisky and the aforementioned Nick Foles, will be the man at quarterback this time around.
Drafted back in 2017, the front office had high hopes for Mitch Trubisky. The Bears traded up to get him, ultimately selecting the North Carolina product with the second overall pick. However, it just hasn’t quite come together for him in the Windy City.
Trubisky has never been bad, but he’s failed to live up to his lofty expectations. He is capable of the occasional moment of magic, but he’s also a mistake waiting to happen. His inconsistency has been what has really hurt the team, and it led to him getting benched this past season.
Nick Foles came to the team at the start of the year, and his tenure with the Bears got off to a dream start. Replacing Trubisky midway through a game against the Atlanta Falcons, Foles led Chicago to a comeback victory in that contest before winning two out of his next three games as well.
However, the Bears then went on a six game losing streak, and Foles was benched in the midst of it, with Trubisky reclaiming his starting spot despite not really impressing either. It was an absolute mess, all things considered – which is why the organization is looking for a clean start with someone new.
According to various reports and rumors, Chicago had expressed interest in trading for Wentz, and they would’ve just been a perfect match for one another.
Don’t get it twisted, the move would have likely ended in disaster.
Wentz is vastly overpaid, and he’s a shell of his past self. Not only is he bad on the field, he brings issues that have to be dealt with off the field as well. He’s just not the elite quarterback the Bears need at the moment, especially at that price.
It’s not like Wentz would have benefited from the move either. The Bears lack true offensive talent, so there’s not enough support for him there. There’s also the fact that head coach Matt Nagy has fallen off ever since being named NFC coach of the year back in 2018. He refuses to learn from his mistakes, so he’ll stick with his plan no matter how poorly it’s going, stifling Wentz as a result.
However, that’s exactly why this move would have been such a fitting one. The Bears are known for making stupid decisions, so trading for Wentz would have just been another mistake to add to an ever-growing list. Wentz, meanwhile, is someone who has developed an ego despite his poor performances as of late. He still thinks he can be a team savior, so he would have come to Chicago with the belief that he could turn things around. He’d likely been proven wrong, though, so getting to see that play out would have been fun to watch in a morbid way.
It was a beautiful catastrophe that was just waiting to happen. Unfortunately, the move will never come to be as Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts on Feb. 18.
The fact that the Bears couldn’t even secure the services of a quarterback who is incredibly flawed just goes to show how bad things are going for the organization. Only time will tell who ends up starting at quarterback next season, but it’s a shame that we’ll never get to see Wentz throw an interception in a Chicago jersey.