The Bears will not pick up the fifth-year option on quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s rookie contract, allowing him to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, a source confirmed to the Sun-Times on Saturday afternoon.
The option would’ve paid him $24.8 million, though the team could’ve released him by the start of the next league year in March and avoided paying it.
Trubisky’s outlook was bleak once the Bears traded for veteran Nick Foles and declared an open competition for the starting job. They guaranteed him $21 million and his contract runs through 2022 unless he opts out.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace traded four picks to draft Trubisky No. 2 overall in 2017. He made the Pro Bowl as an injury alternate after his second season. Rather than make a leap in 2019, he struggled. He bottomed out last season with an 83.0 passer rating, which ranked 28th in the NFL.
The decision was due by 11:59 p.m. Monday. Pace has spent the offseason avoiding the topic — in five different media gatherings, he refused to say whether or not the Bears would give Trubisky the option.
Trubisky is the highest-drafted quarterback of the fifth-year option era, which began in 2011, to have his option declined at the deadline. Robert Griffin III, another second overall pick, had his option picked up but was cut by the Redskins the following March.
The last No. 2 overall pick to have his option declined was Rams offensive tackle Greg Robinson three years ago.
He becomes the second Pace draft pick to have his option declined, joining receiver Kevin White. Cornerback Kyle Fuller, a Phil Emery pick, had his option declined by Pace but re-signed with the team after his fourth season. Pace picked up outside linebacker Leonard Floyd’s option last year, but cut him in March and signed veteran edge rusher Robert Quinn.