The focal point of the Bears’ rebuilding efforts secured a contract on Wednesday as the Bears announced that they had come to terms with rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Trubisky’s deal is worth about $29 million over four years and includes a $19 million signing bonus, according to the Chicago Tribune. The deal also has a fifth-year team option should all go well and the Bears decide they want to keep him around.
The signing on Wednesday comes just as Bears rookies get set to report to training camp before the full team assembles on July 26. Neither the Bears nor Trubisky ever really seemed concerned that a deal would not get done by the start of training camp, but it would have been a needless distraction had the situation surfaced.
Now that the financial i’s and t’s have been dotted and crossed, respectively, the focus shifts to the playing field where all eyes will be watching the quarterback battle between Trubisky and veteran free agent Mike Glennon. The latter, of course, is the anointed starter by virtue of the nearly $19 million contract Glennon signed in free agency, but make no mistake about it, he’s only keeping the seat warm for Trubisky until the rookie is ready to play.
How soon the Bears can get Trubisky on the field will largely indicate how quickly the Bears’ rebuilding efforts are unfolding. Barring a situation where Glennon leads the Bears to the playoffs and looks good during the process, Trubisky will be taking the snaps from under center on Opening Day 2018.
But the question is whether the Bears want to get Trubisky a few games of professional work before this season is in the books, a la Rex Grossman in 2003 when the rookie first-round pick got some late-season action to help bring him up to the speed of the NFL.
The Bears are doing all they can to speed up the learning and development curve of their prized second-overall pick, for whom they traded four picks to the San Francisco 49ers in order to move up one slot in the first round this spring. Head coach John Fox said this summer that the team was using virtual reality equipment to help the quarterbacks get extra reps in practice. But in the non-virtual reality of football, the best repetitions come on the field in live action.
I’m just not sure there will be enough of those to go around this training camp and preseason unless the Bears give equal opportunity to both Trubisky and Glennon in a truly open quarterback competition.