By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) As you read this, the Bears are reportedly finalizing a contract with free agent quarterback Mike Glennon that will pay him $14.5 million annually over three years, and the Bears “will still draft a QB,” the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted.
So I’m not sure how this is all supposed to work or how it gets the Bears closer to winning a Super Bowl.
First, we need to know the guaranteed money promised to Glennon. The total dollars don’t matter in NFL deals as much as the hard commitment and to what extent it constrains future flexibility. Second, how does the larger plan to apparently both stopgap and develop at the quarterback position square with having an older coach who might get fired if he doesn’t win right away?
The only way the kid would play would be due to injury, then, if I read this correctly. John Fox will be coaching for every possible victory and is unlikely to play a rookie unless expressly instructed to do so. How can any draft pick learn and improve and acclimate himself to the league with a few exhibition quarters and a handful of practice snaps?
And this isn’t Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, with royalty entrenched in the job in a way that obviates the usual clamor for the next shiny thing. Glennon himself needs time to get comfortable as a full-time starter, and if there’s anyone of intrigue behind him we know from experience that a loud tribe of supporters will be in a screaming lather for their guy to replace him after the first interception.
Or the Bears could choose the less likely option and throw it open to a training camp competition, letting the moderately paid veteran and the newbie fight it out with equal summertime reps. I have no belief that this would actually happen, as it provides the kind of transparency to which Fox is allergic, allowing for valid outside judgment at the most critical position.
Perhaps Glennon is the bird in the hand, letting general manager Ryan Pace go into the draft as something less than desperate at quarterback. No matter what he opts to do with the No. 3 pick — either using it or moving it for more spins of the wheel — he knows he has something representative at the position, if not exactly inspiring. He can acquire help for elsewhere on the field, and then use a later pick for a quarterback less likely to stir ardor for his installation as starter.
Pace deserves his chance to solve this problem that has dogged so many of his predecessors, but unless and until he explains exactly how this is supposed to work, the ideal scenario remains difficult to envision, with so many more things easily seen going wrong.