The Chicago Bears trade market is fascinating. It feels like it’s teetering on a knife-edge and could go one of two directions. Either they close the curtains on 2019 and begin trying to stockpile picks for next season or they make a bold move at the deadline to solve one of their biggest problems on the roster. At 3-3 the team has no reason to feel like their season is dead yet. This is why the latter idea holds more salt. The question is what position would they target?
Anybody coming out of that Sunday loss to New Orleans knows the answer.
It would have to be a quarterback.
Mitch Trubisky has all but worn out his welcome with Bears fans at this point. His continued lack of consistency and maddening regression from the year before signals to them that he’ll never truly get it as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Even head coach Matt Nagy has sounded like a man who is running out of answers as to how he can make things easier for the 25-year old. The team itself looks like it’s losing hope.
In this context a trade makes sense. Nothing jolts an organization out of its funk faster than a change at quarterback. The tricky part is if they do target one, who would it be?
Chicago Bears trade sights should be set on a smart veteran
There are some interesting names out there that have already been floated around as possibilities. Marcus Mariota from Tennessee being one. He was recently benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill and has connections to Bears offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich. Then there is former two-time Super Bowl champ Eli Manning, also benched early in the year for rookie 6th overall pick Daniel Jones.
One name that isn’t talked about much but could be soon? Philip Rivers. It sounds crazy at first thought. The eight-time Pro Bowler has been the centerpiece of the Chargers franchise since 2004 and is almost certainly a Hall of Famer. However, circumstances may have finally reached a point of no return. Rivers will be 38 in December and he’s currently on the final year of his contract. With Los Angeles floundering at 2-5, it feels like their season is on the brink.
Rivers believes they can right the ship, but he can’t do it by himself.
“I don’t think it’ll tear us apart. I mean, there’s a difference between tearing us apart and still just not ever getting it figured out. I don’t think it’ll tear us apart. It’s not something we can just talk ourselves into. We just got to keep working and keep believing that it’ll happen. And, I think we’ll do that. I think we’ve got the guys that’ll do that. It’s certainly going to be tough.”
Through seven games, Rivers has over 2,100 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. He’s been desperately trying to keep them in games despite a rushing attack that is averaging 3.5 yards per carry and a defense that has suddenly become leaky against the run themselves. If they were to lose on Sunday in Chicago and move to 2-6, that might convince the Chargers it’s time to make a decision. They’ll likely end up with a higher draft choice and a perfect opportunity to find their next quarterback. Trading Rivers would make sense in this regard.
There is no question this sort of move would be dangerous for the Bears. For one there are no guarantees Rivers would even want to come to Chicago. He’s stated before that any idea of leaving the Chargers is not one he liked to entertain. He has a very large family to think about and moving them at this stage of his career may not be something he’d consider.
Then there’s the fact he’ll be a free agent in 2020.
If the Bears did trade for him, he could easily leave after the end of the year and either retire or sign someplace else. This means the team will have given up a valuable draft pick and cap space they could roll over into next year for a quick rental at quarterback. So one would imagine any trade that happens would require the two sides working out some sort of short-term extension.
Some people may not like Rivers because of his long history of disappointing finishes, but the fact is he’s a superior quarterback to anything the Bears have on the roster. Even at his current age. He would fit well in this offense under Matt Nagy given his ability to stand in the pocket and find the open guys. He’s not mobile at all so the run-pass option stuff won’t be worth much but the potential pay off is still big.
If anything could snap the offense out of its daze, trading for an eight-time Pro Bowler with his reputation would do it.