On Thursday afternoon, it was reported that the former North Texas quarterback Mason Fine is going to have a workout with the Chicago Bears on Saturday. If the team signs Fine, it will give them three quarterbacks on their roster, but more importantly, a rookie quarterback to develop if they keep long-term. The quarterback position will be an interesting one for the Bears following the completion of the 2020 season, especially now that a majority of college football teams will not be playing games this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main focus of the offseason and training camp has been on the starting quarterback battle between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. General manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy believe that the offensive’s success in 2020 will go as far as the success of the quarterback. Chicago currently has no insurance policy if both quarterbacks prove ineffective and or they are unable to re-sign Trubisky if he performs well. The issue could become even worse if the Bears have a similar record as last year, putting them out of a top draft spot in 2021 to where they can take the best quarterback available.
With a majority of college conferences choosing to either postpone or cancel 2020 falls sports, the ability to find the next quarterback could become very hard for the Bears. So far, conferences including the Pac-12, Big-10, MAC, WAC, and Big East have chosen not to play football this fall. That leaves the SEC, Big-12, and ACC as the only Power Five conferences playing football. Looking ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields appear to be the only two projected first-round quarterback prospects.
Unless the Bears secure the top overall selection in the 2021 NFL draft, either Pace or another general manager will have a hard time scouting potential quarterback prospects. Other than the quarterbacks playing in the three conferences choosing to play this fall, scouts will have no game film to work with and will have to base their evaluations solely on combine and pro day workouts alone. The Bears could draft a quarterback that looks great in workouts but be a terrible selection because his flaws were only visible during live game situations. Chicago has relied on game reps before when scouting a quarterback, as Pace attended a good portion of Trubisky’s games at North Carolina back in 2016.
Having no backup plan after this season could lead to a dangerous situation for the Bears if neither quarterback succeeds in 2020. Chicago will either have to spend money in free agency to find a short-term solution or draft a quarterback that may not have played a college game in 2020. The offense could struggle again due to lack of continuity with a newly acquired quarterback or have growing pains if a rookie quarterback has to play. Even worse, if the Bears draft the wrong quarterback, the evaluation time for the quarterback could result in possible one or two more wasted seasons.
The 2020 season is a vital one for the Bears as playoff expectations are high given the team’s talented defense and numerous offensive coaches hired during the offseason. If Chicago fails to succeed in 2020, the quarterback position in 2021 or 2022 could be an unstable and uncertain one, given the lack of college players to choose from in 2020. Pace made the mistake of not selecting a quarterback in the 2020 Draft at the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic as a possible insurance policy for after this upcoming season. That mistake is starting to prove already costly now with nearly have of college football teams not scheduled to play this fall.