The Chicago Bears. One of the league’s most intriguing teams. They are chocked full of potential (as evidenced by their 5-1 start last year), but they finished 2020 at 8-8 with an abundance of obvious issues. Among them – their supposed quarterback of the future Mitch Trubisky’s constant struggles. Coincidentally, the quarterback market this offseason has opened up widely this offseason, with franchise-caliber QB’s like Deshaun Watson recently announcing their dissatisfaction with their current teams. So, the question becomes, should Da Bears risk it all and shell out for the Texan’s disgruntled 25-year-old?
Before we continue, I should mention – we did have a video not too long ago advocating for the Bears waiting to look quarterback until Mac Jones with their 20th pick in year’s draft. However, with the recent emergence of Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson’s requests for trade, the issue deserves a second look.
There’s no doubt that Watson is one of the league’s best young stars. In his four NFL seasons, he’s averaged around 3,600 passing yards per season, has been selected to the Pro Bowl for all three seasons since being named starter, and is one of only 3 other quarterbacks with a career passer rating over 100. Not to mention he led the league in passing yards last year, even after the Texans traded stud receiver Deandre Hopkins.
So, why does he want out of Houston, and where does he want to go next? For one, the Texans are in the middle of dismantling their key pieces. After winning the AFC South 3 of the 4 previous years, Houston traded Hopkin – a decision that still racks the minds of many Texans fans. That led to a disastrous 4-10 season, and JJ Watt telling Watson this at the end of their last game (INSERT CLIP). Watt was released upon request and joined Arizona, and Will Fuller proved incapable of filling Hopkins’ shoes.
As for where Watson wants to end up, he has apparently listed no fewer than 4 potential landing spots. What those spots are remain private information, but Chicago would not be the worst place for an established star to step in. Chicago’s defense was a bright spot, ranking 12th overall last season. That would be a big improvement from what Watson is used to – the Texans ranked an abysmal 27th in total defense. The Bear’s biggest problem is their offensive talent, and Watson would fill some serious needs. Allen Robinson is a promising young receiver, and Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery are solid running backs despite Cohen’s recent off years. This is certainly a better situation than Houston’s offensive woes.
Plus, Chicago would greatly benefit from Watson’s talent. Mitch Trubisky was 28th in QBR and in the bottom ten in both passing touchdowns and interceptions. And he is not a good fit for Matt Nagy’s college style system. And guess who would solve all of these issues almost instantaneously – Deshaun Watson. He was 1st in passing yards and 3rd in rushing yards. His prowess in a college-style offense also won him a national title and 2 Heisman nominations at Clemson. He had almost 6 times as many rushing yards than Trubisky last year, and in 2019 he had 93 plays in the run-pass option style Nagy loves.
But is Watson a better fit than Russell Wilson, the other high-profile quarterback that could be on the trade market? Frankly, I think it comes down to one simple issue – the feasibility of actually executing a trade for the player. Wilson would of course bolster the Bears’ failing offense – he ranked 8th in QBR and 9th in passing yards. But, there have been rumblings that Seattle would refuse to trade Wilson, despite the fact that his agent listed the Bears as a primary destination. The Seahawks are far from the implosion the Texans are experiencing – they were 12-4 last season, and they have talent across the board with DK Metcalf and a 13th ranked overall defense. They really don’t have much reason to let Wilson go other than his reported request for a trade, and with the value he’s added to them over the past decade, that may not be enough incentive. Additionally, Wilson is 32, so unless he can showcase the immortality of Tom Brady, he has only a few prime years left for the Bears to enjoy.
Deshaun Watson has another advantage over Wilson: the potential salary cap hit. Unlike the immense amount of dead salary cap Russell Wilson carries with him, Watson’s salary for 2021 is only 10 million dollars with a cap hit of 15 million. Especially if the Bears unload one of their large contracts onto the Texans like Khalil Mack’s, they will easily be able to adjust for Watson. This is yet another advantage that Watson has to Wilson.
So, it seems to me the Bears are much better off pursuing Watson – he is both more likely to be traded and is a younger, cheaper, more promising talent. But do they have enough talent of their own to make the deal worthwhile for the Texans? Certainly they could (and likely would have to) give up Khalil Mack, Nick Foles and/or Mitch Trubisky, and their first round picks both this year and next. The Texans will surely be looking for a trade package that promises some long-run return through the draft and young talent, but this may not be enough to convince them. Mack is a star, but the Bears’ first rounders are rather late in the round and their other expendable talent is not quite yet Pro Bowl ready to say the least. Indeed, the return offer could pose problems for the Bears.
Still, Deshaun Watson just makes sense for the Bears. Sure, as we discussed in our Mac Jones video, the Bears could head hunt for a quarterback in the draft. But now that Deshaun Watson has potentially entered the trade pool, it seems to be a no brainer for the Bears to shell out for a guaranteed franchise quarterback, one that can lead their squad for the next 10 plus years. They can round out their other holes at that 20th draft spot and maybe, just maybe, start to turn things around. And maybe then they’ll be able to appease their rightfully impatient fanbase. But, at least we know they’ll always have these guys on their side (INSERT “DA BEARS” AND “MIKE DITKA” CLIP).