Chicago Bears fans can be excused for looking past Nick Foles at quarterback. Looking to the next guy has kind of become their thing for the past 30+ years. A product of every quarterback trotted out as “the guy” never coming close to reaching expectations. Sure it’s Foles right now, but the team is almost certain to go hunting for their next long-term guy in 2021, right?

Not necessarily. Look nobody is saying Foles is that franchise guy who will carry the team to untold heights. He’s never been that guy. However, he does represent something head coach Matt Nagy has probably been looking for. In the absence of his Patrick Mahomes, Nagy may have found something almost as good.

His Alex Smith.

Confused? Let me explain. When Andy Reid took over the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, he needed a quarterback. Rather than go hunting in the draft, he decided to trade for Smith from the 49ers. While not flashy, the veteran was smart, steady, and incredibly efficient. Not to mention a great leader in the huddle.

Having him under center afforded the Chiefs a chance to win right away but also something else. The ability to stay patient on their decision to find that quarterback of the future. Smith kept Kansas City in the playoff hunt every year. During that time the team was able to stock up their offense with a bevy of difference-makers.

Key Chiefs moves prior to their pouncing on Mahomes
  • Eric Fisher (1st, 2013)
  • Travis Kelce (3rd, 2013)
  • Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (6th, 2014)
  • Tyreek Hill (5th, 2016)
  • Mitchell Schwartz (FA, 2016)

Look at that. The Chiefs secured their two starting offensive tackles and their two superstar offensive weapons in Kelce and Hill with Smith in charge. By the time Mahomes arrived in 2017, the table was already set. All he had to do was step in and play.

This is what Nick Foles can do for the Bears

Chicago appears headed for a transition period. They have several pending free agents next year with an extremely limited amount of salary cap space to handle them all. To say nothing of their continued inability to extend Allen Robinson. Changes are also likely coming on the offensive line with both tackle spots overdue for replacing.

The Bears only have five picks in the 2021 draft though they are doing a couple of compensatory selections. They also likely won’t have a high 1st round pick due to their strong start to this season at 5-1. With all of these realities facing the Bears in the next few months, it’s fair to ask the question.

Is it really the best time for them to focus on grabbing a new QB?

Sure, if a noteworthy talent somehow fell in the draft, they’re automatically obligated to consider it. The odds of that happening though are remote. Especially these days. A smarter play for GM Ryan Pace would be to focus on other areas of need. Start reloading this roster with young, cheap talent.

During that time Foles can keep the train on the tracks. He’s a capable quarterback when he has help. The smarter play is to build the foundation up around him. Then when the time is right, make that aggressive move to grab the guy of the future. Rushing the quarterback decision has never worked for this team in the past.

They had the right idea in 2017. They just blew the opportunity. That strategy can work again, but they need a way to buy time. Nick Foles is that solution.