When was the last time the Bears made a big move that worked?
The jury has been out on quarterback Mike Glennon for four years, and from what I hear, jurors are desperate to get back to their lives, with Juror No. 4, in particular, being extremely upset about having to watch “a guy who is 5-13 lifetime as a starter.’’
It wouldn’t be the Bears if the apple of their eye wasn’t someone else’s bruised produce.
When was the last time they did something that was universally applauded? When was the last time they hired a Theo Epstein or a Joe Maddon, as the Cubs did? Or a John McDonough, as the Blackhawks did? Even the Bulls, thanks to a lottery miracle, got Derrick Rose, who won a Most Valuable Player award before injuries and mindset liquefied his innards.
When was the last time the Bears did something that made fans feel warm all over? OK, there was the signing of Julius Peppers. And there was the drafting of Brian Urlacher, though the city didn’t know what it was getting at the time and the team thought it was getting an outside linebacker before coming to its senses. Anybody else? While you’re attempting to think of someone who fits that description, I’ll circumnavigate the globe.
The Bears sit here desperate for a new quarterback, for the chance to give their rebuild a shot of adrenaline. They sit here with a wheelbarrow full of money and the third overall pick in the April draft.
And there is no obvious answer, no college quarterback who looks to be a surefire star. No Andrew Luck. You make your own luck, and the Bears seem to have a factory where they produce prefab bad juju.
Now they’re looking at Glennon, a backup quarterback for the Buccaneers. Who knows, the 27-year-old could end being a star for some team, even the Bears, but that’s not the point here. It’s that the Bears, in their 31-years-and-counting quest to win another Super Bowl, rarely have done anything that has won sweeping approval around the NFL, nothing that made other teams say, “Uh-oh, here they come.’’
The Bears couldn’t even get their stadium right. In a world in which American cities bend over backward to accommodate the whims of NFL teams, the franchise settled for one of the smallest seating capacities in the league — 61,500 — when it renovated Soldier Field. That’s one reason USA Today ranked the stadium the worst in the NFL.
The Bears don’t seem interested in using the third overall pick on a quarterback, whether it’s North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson or someone else. It’s their luck that in a year in which they really, really need a young QB, none apparently excites them enough to risk that first-round slot. It is also the Bears’ luck that Trubisky and Watson will turn out to be John Elway and Dan Marino for someone else.
The quarterback who would create the most excitement in Chicago would be Tom Brady’s backup in New England, Jimmy Garoppolo of Rolling Meadows High School. Of all the moves the Bears could make, a trade for Garoppolo would say that they’re serious about the quarterback position. And it would cost them a lot. With no guarantee of success.
When the Bears mortgaged their future to acquire Jay Cutler in 2009, the trade with Denver was met with equal amounts of eagerness and trepidation – eagerness because here was a 25-year-old quarterback coming off a Pro Bowl season, and trepidation because why would the Broncos be giving up a quarterback coming off a Pro Bowl season? It didn’t take long to find out.
In the same way, acquiring the 25-year-old Garoppolo would come with a hard-to-shake uneasiness that Patriots coach Bill Belichick was pulling a fast one on the Bears.
The Broncos went on to build a Super Bowl winner without Cutler, so I guess they knew what they were doing. And I guess they knew what they were doing when they rid themselves of Brandon Marshall, a gifted receiver and the reason for most locker-room calls to the Poison Control Center.
It’s difficult to be optimistic about the Bears’ direction when their history has been so off course. And conspiring to further kill the buzz is the fact that there is no obvious correct move here. If Cutler is the Bears’ best option for 2017, a possibility my pal Rick Telander raised Wednesday, I wouldn’t want to be general manager Ryan Pace when it’s time to make the announcement to the city.
For those of you recommending Tony Romo, whom the Cowboys are expected to release Thursday, why would a 36-year-old quarterback looking for his first ring want to play for a team that went 3-13 last season? To tutor a rookie quarterback for a season? No.
So maybe Glennon is the Bears’ future. Like most of the franchise’s moves, it would come with a question: And that’s a good thing?