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Do Bears have buyer’s remorse on high-priced backup QB Nick Foles?

There were cheaper options available, but the Bears thought Foles was just the right guy. In the end, he couldn’t beat out Mitch Trubisky for the starting job.

The Bears traded a fourth-round pick and committed to a three-year, $24 million contract to. get Foles. Now he’s their backup.
The Bears traded a fourth-round pick and committed to a three-year, $24 million contract to. get Foles. Now he’s their backup.
AP

This doesn’t seem to be what the Bears or Nick Foles had in mind five months ago when the team traded a fourth-round pick for him and signed him to a three-year, $24 million contract.

He will be one of the most expensive backup quarterbacks in the NFL after the Bears opted to stick with Mitch Trubisky as their starter, but coach Matt Nagy did not consider this a case of buyer’s remorse.

“No, not at all,” he said.

Nagy did, however, admit that the limited amount of work — the entire spring was wiped out, preseason games were canceled and training camp was 14 practices — hindered the Bears’ effort to turn Foles into the quarterback they thought he could be when they made the trade.

“Because of circumstances of having less time on the field . . . now that I look back, I think that that probably affected some things,” said Nagy, who originally didn’t think that would be a factor.

“I think there is some of that there.

“With some time, I think he could have been in situations where he performed [better], and really it could’ve went one way or the other. But it didn’t. That’s where we’re at.”

The Bears jumped at Foles when quarterbacks of equal or greater talent — Cam Newton and Andy Dalton — were available at minimal cost. For his part, there’s probably nothing Foles could have done differently.

He remained home in Southern California with his pregnant wife amid a pandemic until reporting for the preseason, but there were no organized team activities or minicamps for him to attend anyway. He didn’t actually miss anything, but that work would’ve helped.

Nonetheless, Foles assessed himself and Trubisky as “pretty even throughout the whole thing” and had no idea which one of them would win the job. He did not concede that Trubisky outplayed him, but respected Nagy’s choice and pledged to support Trubisky in every way.

He agreed with Nagy, though, that the three weeks of practice weren’t his best work.

“I felt good out there,” Foles said. “Was I . . . where I want to be? No, I wasn’t, but that’s not based on footwork or anything else. That’s based on the other circumstances that are out of your control, where you are moving your family, you’re with a new offense and you’re with new players.

“You really get a great time in the spring to go through OTAs and get those cobwebs out. That’s not an excuse. That’s just a reality of it all.”

There’s consolation for Foles: He might not be stuck as a backup for long.

Nagy didn’t like the topic of how short his leash would be on Trubisky, preferring instead to champion the feel-good story of him rallying to keep his job. He dismissed those thoughts as “just drama” on Sunday, but it’s obviously more than that because Nagy addressed the hypothetical in the offseason. He described it as a seasonlong competition, so he’s not afraid to make a change.

Considering Trubisky’s poor play last season was exactly what necessitated the Foles trade, that’s certainly a possibility. Trubisky was fifth-worst in passer rating (83) and last in yards per attempt (6.1) last season, prompting the Bears to decline his fifth-year option and bring in competition.

“We can’t live in that drama world right now,” Nagy said.

It’s not really up to him. Whether the Bears venture into drama world is entirely in Trubisky’s hands, and while it’s a nice accomplishment for him to hold on to his spot, he enters the season with little leeway and with Foles — the all-time hero of backup quarterbacks who won a Super Bowl MVP — eager for the chance to show what he can do.