With NFL training camps beginning to open very soon, the Chicago Bears will have to determine a starting quarterback for the 2020 season without any preseason games. Head coach Matt Nagy and his offensive staff will have 14 practices to chose between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles to see who starts September 13th against the Detroit Lions. The competition will be captivating for Bears fans, but there is another quarterback currently not on the team that could factor into the offense later in the year.

Quarterback Alex Smith is on the verge of making his return to football following an extensive recovery from a horrific leg injury suffered in week 11 of the 2018 season. Smith is currently on the physically unable to perform list with the Washington Football team, and when healthy is expected to be given a chance to be the starting quarterback. The chances of the former number one overall selection being able to reclaim his starting role from either Kyle Allen or Dwayne Haskins is highly unlikely. Washington could move on from Smith, once he is physically cleared for football activities, in which the Bears could be interested in his services.

Smith’s best seasons came in Kansas City with the Chiefs when he played there from 2013 to 2017. The Chiefs made the playoffs in four seasons as their starting quarterback was named to the Pro-Bowl three times during those five years. Head coach Andy Reid had several of his offensive coaches receive head coaching positions with other teams due to Smith’s efficiency, one of those coaches was Nagy.

During the 2017 season, the Chiefs offense struggled, which led to Reid appointing Nagy to the offensive coordinator’s role for the last five games of the season. In four of the five games as the starting quarterback, Smith averaged 292 passing yards, a quarterback rating of 106.1, and threw seven touchdown passes. The Chiefs offense as a whole averaged 27 points per game with Nagy as the offensive coordinator. It was this reason why general manager Ryan Pace chose him as the best coach to oversee the development of Trubisky.

Two seasons later, both Nagy and Pace could be on the verge of losing their jobs, depending on the outcome of the Bears 2020 campaign. If either Trubisky or Foles both prove ineffective or get injured, it may lead the Bears organization to look at the possibility of bringing in Smith. Imagine by week 6 or 7 that the Bears are just above .500 with the defense performing amazing while either or both quarterbacks are holding the offense back from being great. If Washington hasn’t already released Smith, there may be a good chance of Nagy and Pace possibly trading for the quarterback to be the missing link, if healthy. Unlike in recent seasons, the Bears front office will have more picks for the 2021 Draft to use at their disposal if they want to trade for Smith.

The most significant factor for the Bears will be Smith’s health and whether or not he will have any mobility left following the leg break that nearly ended his career. With no preseason games, Washington and the rest of the league will have no live game reps to determine if the former Pro-Bowl quarterback can be mobile at the NFL level again. Nagy has been set in his ways and has made it clear he wants quarterbacks that can run his system. If Smith is healthy and available, there would be no reason why the Bears wouldn’t target him, especially if Chicago backed into a corner midway through the season.

Steve Pusch
Eastern Illinois University graduate, Steve earned a Bachelor’s in Journalism with a concentration in sports. While at EIU, Steve co-hosted a weekly radio sports talk show focused on Chicago.