The Chicago Bears will go into the offseason with a big question to answer at their quarterback position, and a few intriguing names could be popping up on the market.
Another quarterback could potentially be disgruntled in his current situation down in Houston. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was told by team ownership that he would be involved in the selection of the team’s next head coach and general manager, but then was not involved in the decision to hire new GM Nick Caserio.
Watson is “extremely unhappy” with the organization after the decision, according to Rapoport, though the report did not specify that he would want to seek a trade from the team.
If the Texans end up listening to trade offers on Watson, the Bears could potentially look to right what many perceive as a wrong from the 2017 draft, when they reportedly didn’t talk to Watson during the interview process ahead of the draft. Instead, the Bears drafted Trubisky with the second overall pick, while the Texans drafted Watson and the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes.
Watson led the NFL in passing yards during the 2020 season with 4,823, throwing 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions for the Texans. After reaching the AFC Divisional Round in 2019, the Texans posted a 4-12 record, and speculation has grown that big changes could be on the way for the organization.
The Texans’ first round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft belongs to the Miami Dolphins, and that could be an interesting starting point in negotiations if the Bears, or any other team, would try to engage the Texans in trade talks.
The news, naturally, caught the attention of Bears fans:
Another possibility for the Bears could be Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who is reportedly unhappy in the City of Brotherly Love, even after signing a 4-year, $128 million contract extension with the team. Of that money, nearly $108 million is guaranteed.
Wentz appeared in 12 games for the Eagles during the 2020 season, passing for 2,620 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Wentz was replaced as the team’s starter by Jalen Hurts late in the season, and has reportedly decided that he will ask for a trade in the offseason, according to multiple outlets.
Betting markets seem to be receptive to the idea of a Wentz trade to the Bears. According to PointsBet USA, the Bears have the second-best odds of landing Wentz at +200, just behind the Indianapolis Colts, who could be looking to replace quarterback Philip Rivers after the season concludes.
The big issue facing the Bears, or any other team, in a trade scenario would be the enormous amount of money that Wentz is still owed on his deal. His salary cap hit jumps to more than $34 million for the 2021 season, and if he’s not cut after that season it ticks upward in 2022.
A team could cut him after the 2021 season, but would then face a $24.5 million dead cap hit for the 2022 season.
If the Bears don't decide to go in that direction, they still have options with incumbent quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears declined Trubisky's fifth year option earlier this year, paving the way for him to leave as a free agent at the conclusion of the year.
The Bears could still try to negotiate a new contract with Trubisky, or could use the team's franchise tag to retain him for at least one more season. That would come at a hefty price, likely in excess of $23 million for the season according to some estimates.