2020 NFL free agents: Bears chase quarterbacks on Day 1, but no deal

The Bears appeared to be very active in the market, but their QB search continues.

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Foles was a Super Bowl MVP, but not much else.

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The Bears believe in quarterback Mitch Trubisky, but only if they have to.

While they didn’t land a new quarterback on the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period for free agents, they reportedly were checking in on several candidates. That’s a sharp turn from the public statements they’ve made about banking on Trubisky this season.

The biggest name was Teddy Bridgewater, whose link to the Bears appeared to be merely a flirtation. They were in, then out on him within an hour or so, which likely means he wanted more money than they could afford.

The Vikings got to the playoffs with Bridgewater in 2015, but he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the preseason the next year. He missed virtually all of the 2016 and ’17 seasons before launching a comeback with the Saints.

The Saints went 5-0 with him starting in place of Drew Brees last season, including a runaway victory at Soldier Field. Bridgewater had a 99.1 passer rating in nine games.

Multiple reports had the Bears making calls on Nick Foles and Andy Dalton, too. Though neither is a free agent, both are thought to be available for trade or on their way to being released.

General manager Ryan Pace has said he intends to address the quarterback issues, but his comments have indicated he’s more in the market for a No. 2 than someone who would challenge or replace Trubisky.

Taking a look at Bridgewater, however, was the first sign that Pace might be willing to concede Trubisky isn’t working out. Taking a swing on someone such as Bridgewater, whom Spotrac projects as a $21.5 million-per-year player, would make it obvious the Bears were moving on from Trubisky.

Dalton and Foles are more established than Trubisky, but neither is an obvious upgrade.

Dalton is a three-time Pro Bowl selection but has posted only one season with a passer rating of 92 or higher. The Bengals are looking to dump him after a three-year stretch in which he threw 62 touchdown passes and 37 interceptions and put up an 84.2 passer rating.

A deal for Dalton hardly would be cause for celebration, but he should be in the Bears’ price range. They could get him for a late-round pick, and the Bengals would be expected to eat some of the $17.7 million on his contract for next season. With none of that money guaranteed, by the way, the Bengals almost certainly will cut him if they can’t make a trade.

Foles has had a similarly mediocre career, other than his Super Bowl run with the Eagles. In 16 games in the last three seasons, he had an 88.7 passer rating.

If the Bears can’t get into the mix for Foles or Dalton, the next tier is headlined by Jameis Winston, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft.

Any new players who reach an agreement with the Bears, as tight end Jimmy Graham reportedly did, will encounter hurdles as they acclimate. The NFL and NFL Players Association jointly barred players from making free-agent visits or having any in-person contact with team officials because of coronavirus concerns. Free agents and teams can agree on a neutral physician in the player’s home city for physicals or go off medical records from the previous team.

The league also indefinitely suspended offseason programs, which are typically workouts and informal gatherings. There has been no word about organized team activities, which typically begin in May.

The Bears, meanwhile, said they will keep Halas Hall and their downtown offices closed indefinitely. They have instructed most employees, including the coaching staff, to work from home. They also will not hold introductory news conferences for any of their new players.

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