8 questions about the Bears’ offseason as first wave of free agency settles

The biggest question, though, is whether they’ve done enough to vault themselves back into contender status.

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Mitch Trubisky (left) and Robert Quinn (right) are on the same team in 2020.

Mitch Trubisky (left) and Robert Quinn (right) are on the same team in 2020.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Bears are out to get back into contention after a frustrating 8-8 season that left them sitting at home for the playoffs. Making that jump is tough in an offseason that began with few high-round draft picks and little salary-cap space.

As the first wave of free agency settles, the Bears’ main moves have been trading for quarterback Nick Foles, signing former all-pro pass rusher Robert Quinn to replace Leonard Floyd and picking up tight end Jimmy Graham.

Is that enough? Let’s take a look at where they stand:

Grade the Bears’ offseason so far:
I’ll give them a C+. General manager Ryan Pace made a sharp move dropping Leonard Floyd in favor of Robert Quinn, giving the Bears a fearsome pass rush trio of Quinn, Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks. But the moves at tight end and quarterback aren’t exciting. And they made no significant acquisition at wide receiver, safety, cornerback or offensive line.

Who is the starting quarterback for the opener?
Mitch Trubisky. The Bears will say throughout training camp the preseason that he and Nick Foles are neck-and-neck in the race to be the starter, but it’ll be Trubisky to open. He’ll have zero margin, though, and Foles will take over quickly.

Which quarterback would’ve excited you?
Tom Brady. There were a few others that would’ve been good, too, including Teddy Bridgewater, Cam Newton and even Jameis Winston. It would’ve been compelling to see what Matt Nagy could do to refine Winston. But back to Brady, shouldn’t the Bears have been at the top of his list? They’d present as good of a situation as anybody: an elite defense, above-average skill players and a team that’s already within reasonable proximity to contention. We need an explanation on why there was never a whiff of pursuing Brady around Halas Hall.

Are the Bears better or worse than they were in January?
Slightly better. And the expanded playoff field helps, too.

Their best move was …
It’s not a move, but the biggest improvement they made was Akiem Hicks recovering. If healthy, he propels the Bears’ defense from very good to overwhelming.

The Bears will regret …
Not paying up for tight end Austin Hooper, who agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal with the Browns. Instead, they’ll proceed with Trey Burton and Jimmy Graham. Burton has high potential, but his health issues make him a mystery. Graham is a former all-pro, but looked rickety with the Packers last season. If they had freed up a little more cap space to afford Hooper, he would’ve been an ideal short-term and long-term solution.

What’s their biggest need?
Quarterback. But they’re done there, so realistically it’s offensive line.

Do you trust GM Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy to turn this around?
No on Pace, but yes on Nagy. Regardless of how the Foles-Trubisky battle turns out, the Bears need a quarterback of the future. Will Pace spend a second-rounder when he’s trying to save his job? Should he be picking quarterbacks anyway? As for Nagy, he’s a smart coach who will get better as he continues to influence the roster.

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“I certainly think the Illini have a better than 2% implied chance of winning it all, since 50-1 implies a 1.96% chance,” said Tyler Wyatt, a professional bettor in Nashville, Tennessee.