The Bears’ top priority should be a Mitchell Trubisky backup plan

usa today 13798971.0 - The Bears’ top priority should be a Mitchell Trubisky backup planJeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago has a handful of problems to fix, and not many resources to solve them.

Last season was a regrettable one in Chicago. Head coach Matt Nagy failed to defend his NFC North title thanks in part to a concerning regression from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. With little consistent air support and an offense that ranked 29th in the league in both points scored and yards gained, the Bears slid from 12-4 to 8-8 and missed the playoff for the eighth time in the last nine years.

Fixing those problems this spring will be tough. Chicago doesn’t have a first-round pick thanks to its trade for Khalil Mack in 2018, and it has limited cap space to make any major moves in free agency.

Chicago Bears (8-8), missed playoffs

The Bears continue to field a championship-caliber defense, though some tweaks will be necessary to turn a top-10 unit back into a top-five squad. That means general manager Ryan Pace, resolute in his backing of Trubisky for the 2020 season, will have to focus his attention to a flagging offense that struggled to live up to expectations.

  1. Quarterback: Pace may be publicly content to roll with Trubisky, but a glut of available veteran quarterbacks will give him the opportunity to find a player who can push the young passer in training camp and/or step into the starting lineup should he underwhelm once more. Philip Rivers, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota are all set to his the free agent market this offseason. Andy Dalton and Cam Newton could join them. Any would compete with the 2019 version of Trubisky for snaps.
  2. Tight end: Prized free agent signee Trey Burton missed eight games in 2019 and has caught more than 37 passes in a single season only once in his career. Former second-round pick Adam Shaheen has failed to turn into a dependable starter. Jesper Horsted is an interesting young talent, and Demetrius Harris adds athleticism and blocking, but neither is ready to carry the load at the top of the depth chart. Adding a member of a solid free agent class would give the Bears another trusted target downfield.
  3. Offensive guard: Longtime starter Kyle Long is stepping away from the game at age 31. Depth option Ted Larsen is a free agent. The Bears could use some extra help up front to keep their QBs upright and to clear holes for second-year back David Montgomery.

What Windy City Gridiron wants most this offseason: Stability and competency at the QB spot would put this team squarely in the playoff race. Missing on the Trubisky pick could have set this franchise back even further, but with so many decent QBs available this offseason they can right the ship. Getting a right guard would help stabilize the running game too. — Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.

We’ll check back on the Bears after free agency to see what they still need heading into the 2020 NFL Draft.

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