Quarterback Mike Glennon is probably the last person Ryan Pace wants to see come to town this weekend.
As Pace’s bosses evaluate whether to keep him as the Bears’ general manager next season, they’ll be forced to stare at a reminder of one of Pace’s great failures Sunday, when the Giants play at Soldier Field. Glennon is 6-7. You can’t miss him.
In 2017, Pace gave Glennon a three-year, $45 million deal to, as it turned out, provide cover for his plan to trade up and draft Mitch Trubisky second overall. Glennon proved so unplayable that the Bears promoted Trubisky after the fourth game. He never threw another pass for the team. At the end of the season, Pace cut Glennon after paying him $18.5 million guaranteed.
The contract proved atrocious. Even worse, though, was what it would portend. Pace’s evaluation of Glennon was the first of many questionable quarterback acquisitions, followed by Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton and perhaps — the jury is still out — Justin Fields.
So, yes, Pace can’t be thrilled that Glennon will be on the opposite sideline — no matter how much he plays. And that is very much in question. Glennon hasn’t clearly beaten out Jake Fromm, a second-year player the Giants signed off the Bills’ practice squad four weeks ago. Giants coach Joe Judge refused to name a starter Wednesday, hinting that Glennon and Fromm could platoon — the way a high school JV team does it.
“I would expect to see both guys play,” Judge told reporters.
The Giants are incentivized to lose in a way that the Bears — who traded their 2022 draft pick to the Giants for Fields — are not.
All possible scenarios are bad for Pace: if Glennon torches the Bears the way Trubisky did in the preseason, if Glennon gets dominated by a hungry defense or if he’s merely competent and has to take an occasional backseat to someone who, over the last two weeks, has completed 12 of 29 passes for 107 yards with an interception.
Fromm, the former Georgia star whose play helped prompt Fields’ transfer to Ohio State, said he has kept his confidence up after starting last week against the Eagles. He had a 19.5 passer rating before being benched for Glennon in the second half.
Glennon, meanwhile, admitted platooning within the game could get complicated.
“I think getting into a rhythm would be probably — I’ve never actually had that, but I think it would create a challenge,” he told reporters. “But if that’s what’s best for the team, that’s what we’ll be ready to do.”
Glennon has started three games since Daniel Jones hurt his neck, losing all of them. In fact, he has won one game as a starter since the end of the 2014 season: in overtime against the Steelers as a member of the 2017 Bears.
The Bears actually faced Glennon in the second-to-last week last season, too. Starting for a Jaguars team that would finish 1-15, Glennon went 24-for-37 for 211 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions.
This year is different, given the heat on Pace and the location of the game.
“This will be my first time returning to Chicago [since leaving], but I have nothing but great things to say about the Bears’ organization,” Glennon said. “I enjoyed my time there. It didn’t necessarily work out on the field, but as far as just the people around that organization, the way it’s run from ownership all the way down, I really enjoyed my time.
“It’ll be fun to go back.”
It won’t be nearly as fun for his old GM.