Dante Fowler Jr.
These are just some of the names that have been connected to the Chicago Bears over the past few weeks via mock draft. It’s no surprise that most of them have to do with fixing a defense that was far less than adequate the past two seasons with Scherff, a powerhouse offensive lineman, the only exception.
However there is one position that remains a big wild card in the draft discussion. That is quarterback. With a new GM in Ryan Pace and new head coach in John Fox, the future of current starter Jay Cutler is in limbo. Word has continued to spread that the GM and coach have been calling and meeting various coaches and players around the league, asking them for impressions on Cutler to get a gauge of the quarterback and the man.
This should come as no surprise. Pace comes from New Orleans where Drew Brees ran the show, leading the Saints franchise to their first Super Bowl. Pace knows exactly what a franchise quarterback looks like, as does Fox who worked with Peyton Manning for three years in Denver.
That is why at least one person, former NFL quarterback Shaun King believes the position is very much in play for the Bears at the 7th overall pick. His mock draft for Yahoo.com proved it when he had them taking Marcus Mariota out of Oregon.
“Head coach John Fox wants to run the football and play great defense. Jay Cutler just doesn’t fit that type of environment (or any other to be frank). The Bears have outstanding offensive skill-position personnel which will make Mariota’s transition easier. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains get to mold Mariota into the Bears’ franchise QB.”
It’s a scenario Chicago fans have debated over for months Nobody knows whether or not the Heisman winner will make a good pro quarterback. He certainly has the talent. However, were he to somehow slip past the Jets at #6, then the Bears would be faced with several different scenarios to consider and only ten minutes to pick one.
Scenario #1: Draft Him, Release Cutler
The cleanest maneuver for the Bears to make regarding the Mariota question would be drafting him and then dismissing Cutler from the team. Whether the rookie starts right away will depend on what Fox has planned but this scenario has a big obstacle in the $15.5 million the Bears would owe Cutler if he were released.
Their best hope would be that he signs a decent multiyear deal with another team, at which point however much he makes from that other team would be deducted from the amount of money they’d owe him.
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