Excitement over the Chicago Bears going into 2019 is off the charts. This feels like a team that is ready to compete for a chance at the Super Bowl. Something that hasn’t been realistic for almost a decade. Yet at the same time, there seems to be an air of panic among fans.

Not necessarily because of the situation as it is now, but more for what it will be in a couple of years. Right around the time the team will be expected to hand deliver a Mitch Trubisky contract extension. Even if it’s not a record-breaking deal, the fact is QB contracts, in general,l are huge. Navigating the salary cap around them can prove tremendously difficult.

So when people saw what the Seattle Seahawks give Russell Wilson for his new deal, those concerns likely doubled.

Many are operating on the assumption that it’s nearly impossible to build and sustain a championship-caliber roster when the quarterback is hoarding so much of the spending money. This isn’t true obviously as there is plenty of evidence from other teams to suggest it’s possible.

Bears navigation of Mitch Trubisky contract hinges on the draft

Make no mistake. There is no fancy formula in regards to this problem. The solution is quite simple. It is not, however, even remotely easy. The teams that have had the most success at thriving with a highly-paid QB all have the same thing in common.

They’ve drafted well.

The big oversight to this entire hysteria over massive QB contracts isn’t that it prevents teams from keeping their rosters strong. It instead narrows the means by which they can do so. Free agency becomes a far less viable option because the team doesn’t have the money to spend.

That puts the pressure entirely on the GM to deliver consistently solid drafts in order to keep the pipeline of talent flowing. Many have proven unequal to this task. They may start well enough but at some point they run out of magic.

It happened with Ted Thompson in Green Bay. It happened with Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore and it happened with Dave Gettleman in Carolina. There have been teams though who have handled this reality quite well for several years and found ways to still compete.

Below is a list of those teams and all the notable picks they made since their quarterback signed his biggest contract.

New England Patriots: Tom Brady 4-year, $72 million in 2010

Total picks – 77 (9.62 per draft)

New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees 5-year, $100 million in 2012

Total picks – 44 (6.28 per draft)

Los Angeles Chargers: Philip Rivers 4-year, $83.25 million in 2015

Total picks – 27 (6.75 per draft)

Keep in mind those teams were all able to make occasional moves in free agency too. Not every year will be a cap crunch. It’s just that Pace won’t be able to spend as freely to fill holes on the roster like he used to. This means he’ll have to learn to stockpile more picks in the future. Something he’s already in the process of doing.

The Bears have nine projected selections in 2020 including a compensatory pick. Those have proven quite valuable to teams who can spend on the open market much. Don’t be surprised if Chicago continues to follow suit. If they are able to draft as well as they have the past few years? They’ll be just fine whenever Trubisky finally gets his money.