Among the trade talks surrounding some of the league’s top quarterbacks, there are solid free agent quarterbacks this offseason. None of the options are world-beating, and they certainly would not be the Bears top choice. However, Chicago might have to settle for a free agent to duel it out with Nick Foles or a rookie under center next season. In that case, here are the best free agent quarterback options for the Bears.
3. Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott will likely not be a free agent much longer. Prescott is the face of the Dallas Cowboys franchise, and barring any dramatic developments, he will be staying that way.
However, Prescott would be the most talented free agent quarterback the Bears could pursue. He has been elected to two Pro-Bowls and has a 97.3 passer rating over his five year career. He was off to a great start in 2020, leading the NFL in passing yards before suffering an ankle injury in Week 5.
Financially, acquiring Prescott would be difficult for Chicago. The Bears are already dealing with salary cap issues and need to re-sign other players to stay competitive. Meanwhile, Prescott declined a five-year, $175 million contract extension with the Cowboys last offseason. Chicago would not be able to come close to that amount without surrendering any key pieces.
Prescott is the most talented free agent quarterback. However, it is unlikely that the Bears sign him due to his price and the Cowboys desire to keep Prescott.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (aka “Fitzmagic”) is undoubtedly the NFL’s most accomplished journeyman. The 38-year-old quarterback has been on eight different teams, playing surprisingly well each time. Most recently, he played for the Dolphins, giving rookie Tua Tagovailoa some time to watch from the sidelines.
If the Bears were to sign Fitzpatrick, Chicago would employ a similar strategy as the Dolphins. This would entail drafting a quarterback in the first round and developing the rookie behind Fitzpatrick. He is good enough to keep teams in games, so like Miami this past season, the Bears would theoretically still be in the playoff race with Fitzpatrick at the helm.
Financially, Fitzpatrick would be very easy to sign. He would not go for much more than the league’s minimum veteran salary, making him the most cost-effective option.
If the Bears want to draft a quarterback and develop him well, Fitzpatrick is likely the best option. He is inexpensive, leaving cap space to build a team around a young quarterback. He is also experienced and intelligent, key traits to mentor a successor.
Jameis Winston would be the ideal choice for a quarterback to get the Bears offense started again. The Bears need more chunk plays and to move the ball downfield. Meanwhile, Winston is a gun slinging quarterback with a strong arm and confidence, something that could help the stagnant Chicago offense.
It is true that Winston’s style of play has led to turnover trouble in the past. However, this may have been corrected during his time on the bench in New Orleans this past year. Developing under premier head coach Sean Payton and soon-to-be Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, Winston could quite possibly be new and improved.
Winston, as far as free agent quarterbacks go, would not be too expensive. He signed for just $1.1 million with the Saints last offseason. The Saints will probably be pushing to re-sign him and he will be asking for more than $1.1 million, but Winston’s asking price will be realistic for the Bears.
The best quarterback option on the free agent market for Chicago is Jameis Winston. He should not be too expensive and could quite possibly revitalize this Bears offense. With Winston at the helm, it would not be difficult to imagine them in the playoffs. However, Winston should not be considered a long term solution.
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