For NFL teams, sending a competent quarterback out to the huddle is a necessity but not a given. The Chicago Bears, following the departure of Jay Cutler, brought Mike Glennon in on a three-year, $45 million deal with $19 million guaranteed. It was a hefty price to pay for a borderline starter who showed flashes in 2013, regressed in 2014, missed 2015, and threw 11 passes in 2016.
The signing was even more perplexing after they traded up in the NFL Draft to take Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick. Glennon, who was always meant to be a stop-gap, became a Band-Aid. His job is to keep the seat warm and manage games until his younger backup progresses.
Trubisky is the future. Glennon is the necessity of now. At least he was expected to be. Through two preseason games, however, the 27-year-old has done nothing to show he deserves the starting job while the rookie has been impressive. A quarterback controversy is already brewing in the media — and rightly so.
Glennon has been lackluster (15-for-26, 109 yards, TD, 2 INT, 48.4 rating) and those numbers look even worse next to Trubisky’s (24-for-33, 226 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 111.4 rating). John Fox surely must be feeling pressure to open up the competition and give his young gun some first-team reps.
That the future looks bright is a good thing for the Bears. But the present looking cloudy makes it more of a silver lining. While fans may be excited for what appears to be looming is understandable. At the same time, the more Trubisky outplays his older colleague, the more baffling the choice to drop $45 on Glennon looks.
Obviously, counting on a rookie quarterback to assume the reins from the beginning is a risky proposition. A proven entity and steady hand to bridge the gap was needed. Forty-five million was a lot to pay for that need and it will quickly become a sunk cost should Trubisky stay hot and win the job.
That said, this would be the preferred outcome. Glennon’s weighty backup paycheck would be easier to stomach if Trubisky develops ahead of schedule.
It’s still early. Perhaps Glennon will turn it on and the inevitable growing pains will hit Trubisky sooner rather than later. Perhaps the offseason signing will be vindicated.
The natives may be restless and hoping for change but it they have a good problem on their hands. The ideal outcome appears to be inching closer to reality. If Trubisky is a legitimate starter out of the gates, consternation over paying too much for Plan B won’t be as loud.