Risky business? GM Ryan Pace thinks he has a bead on Mike Glennon

What does Bears general manager Ryan Pace know about Mike Glennon that we don’t?

That’s the key question after the Bears plunked down some fairly serious coin for a mediocre player who hasn’t started in 2½ NFL seasons — $18.5 million guaranteed in a three-year, $45 million contract, with a cap hit of $14 million for 2017 that isn’t too far off Jay Cutler’s $17 million cap last season.

That’s not quite a home-run swing in Pace’s first attempt to solve the Bears’ all-important quarterback situation, but a pretty hefty cut for what might end up being a line-drive single to center.

But there’s the rub. The 6-7, 225-pound Glennon, a third-round draft pick in 2013, has the potential to produce more than that, and Pace thinks he will.

Mike Glennon has not started a regular-season game in the NFL since losing to Brian Hoyer and the Browns on Nov. 2, 2014. The Bears signed Glennon to a three-year, $45 million contract ($18.5 million guaranteed) this week. | Chris Graythen/Getty Images

“I’ve liked Mike ever since N.C. State,” said Pace, who was the Saints’ director of pro scouting when Glennon was drafted. “Being in the same division [as the Buccaneers] was beneficial, being up close.

“Obviously, he’s a big quarterback with a strong arm. But [he has] all the traits we all value at the position — he’s intelligent, he can quickly process, he can see the field, he’s accurate, he gets the ball out quick. So there’s a lot of traits about him that I like.”

We’ll learn a lot about Glennon in the months ahead, but his performance will tell us more about Pace and the intuition about players — quarterbacks in particular — that makes a GM’s life a lot easier. Pace doesn’t just believe he knows the player. He believes he knows the person. There wasn’t much else to observe the previous two seasons. Glennon threw 11 passes in two regular-season games as a backup to Jameis Winston.

“You’re evaluating all his college tape, every single game he’s played in the NFL, including the preseason,” Pace said. “From being around [Glennon] up close and personal for a lot of years, I feel really, really good about it.”

Glennon’s last NFL start was in Week 8 of the 2014 season, when he and the Buccaneers lost to Brian Hoyer and the Browns 22-17. The Bears could have re-signed Hoyer — a more proven commodity with established limitations — but instead splurged a little and went with Glennon and his presumably bigger upside. Hoyer signed a two-year, $12 million contract ($10 million guaranteed) with the 49ers.

“We like Brian, and I wish him nothing but the best,” Pace said. “But our decision was more [that] it’s all about Mike Glennon, and once we came to a consensus on him, it was like, ‘Hey, let’s go all-in and make sure we get this player.’ ”

Pace made no doubt that the Bears are “all-in” with Glennon.

“Mike Glennon’s our starting quarterback,” Pace said when asked if a rookie or holdover Connor Shaw would compete for the starting job. “So we’re fired up about that, and all the chips will just fall where they may after that.”

Glennon is arriving at a good time. He has more support than Cutler had in his final seasons. The Bears’ defense should be as good as it has been since 2012. And though the receiving corps is a big X-factor, the offensive line (with a solid nucleus of Josh Sitton, Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long) and running game (with Jordan Howard) should provide a foundation for success. Glennon should be able to grow into the job.

“His sample size is big enough to have a good feel for that,” Pace said. “And it’s not just me. There’s a collective agreement in the building that I like. The coaches make their evaluations, the scouts make their evaluations and I’m going to make my evaluation. And when we all independently come to the same conclusion, that’s a good feeling.”

Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com


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