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Should the Bears Pursue Derek Carr?

The 2021 NFL Offseason is highlighted by drama surrounding the quarterback position. With nearly half the league looking for a quarterback, five first round quarterbacks in the draft, multiple quarterbacks potentially up for trade and a plethora of solid free agents, anything could happen this offseason.

The Chicago Bears are one of the teams searching for a quarterback to fill quite possibly the most important role in all of sports. After failed experiments with Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles, Chicago needs to find someone this offseason. The Bears organization has emphasized that their priority will be finding quarterback. However, it is unsure what their strategy is at this point.

The Bears interest in multiple quarterbacks on the free agent and trade market has been floated around the league. Most recently, they are rumored to be considering trading for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Carr would be fairly expensive – the reported asking price is two first round picks. Should the Bears pursue Carr despite the hefty price?

The Player

Derek Carr has quietly emerged as one of the smartest, most aware quarterbacks in the NFL. He makes smart decisions and is able to move the ball downfield. His Pro Football Focus grade on third down was second best in the league this season, ranking only behind Aaron Rodgers.

In 2020, the three-time Pro Bowler threw for 27 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Meanwhile, Bears quarterbacks threw for 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in two more full games than Carr. His quarterback rating of 101.4 eclipses Chicago’s combined rating on the season by 14.9.

Any way you slice it, Carr is a much better quarterback than Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles. This is not to mention his limitations at wide receivers, as Nelson Agholor was his number one target. Assuming the Bears can hold onto Robinson, Carr would have even more success throwing to Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney.

Carr would be the best quarterback Chicago has seen in a long time. Based on his play alone, the two first rounders it may cost to get him could be worth it. Of course, there is the question of how well Carr would fit into the Bears offense.

The Fit

Carr would be a perfect fit for the Bears.

First off, and most importantly, Carr is great at moving the ball downfield and playing smart. His aforementioned success on third down would be key for the Bears. For years, Chicago’s offense has tortured the defense by not converting on third downs and having short possessions. These quickly unsuccessful drives force the defense to be stuck on the field for long periods of time, wearing out the defense until they are frustrated, unmotivated and tired.


Derek Carr throwing in the face of pressure against the Denver Broncos in Week 10 of the 2020 NFL Season. (Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

Carr could also be good for the Bears due to his ability under pressure. Before the 2020 NFL Season, NFL’s Next Gen Stats ranked Carr the third best quarterback under pressure. There was little change in his performance in tight situations this year. Despite injuries on the offensive line, he suffered only 26 sacks, while Bears quarterbacks were sacked 36 times due to poor offensive line performance, something Carr would be more able to overcome.

Lastly, Carr’s deep ball would be a big advantage for Chicago. The Bears had two top deep threats on their roster last season in Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney who rarely had the chance to show their skill due to poor quarterback play. Meanwhile, Carr averaged 11.8 yards per catch and ranked eighth in deep ball attempts in the 2020 NFL Season. With Carr under center, the Bears and head coach Matt Nagy would be able to unlock a new dimension to their offense.

In Conclusion

If unable to get Deshaun Watson, the Bears should absolutely try for Carr. Beyond being a trustworthy quarterback, he would fit in very well in Chicago. Considering their positions on the hot seat, general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy should be looking for a splash move at the quarterback position. By trading for Carr, the duo that has struck out at the ever so important position in the past would be able to find a reliable option that may save their jobs.

 

 

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