The Bears’ offseason work has ranged from the highlight-reel (Jared Allen) to the very interesting, and is not done yet. Particularly at the quarterback spot of late.
History points to the Bears going to training camp with four quarterbacks (last year it started out as three in order to get more work in a new system for Jay Cutler). The other three after Cutler this year is where the “interesting” part lies. Very interesting, in fact.
General manager Phil Emery has stated a desire to draft a quarterback every year, and while that is closer to theory than practice, it is “theory” that warrants watching through the Emery era, because what Emery has done is add a quarterback every year, one way or another.
Emery didn’t draft a quarterback in 2012. He did, however, sign Jason Campbell and re-sign Josh McCown in that offseason, ended up keeping Campbell to start the season behind Cutler, and subsequently brought McCown back and kept him on the roster for the final seven weeks as a Cutler injury hedge.
Emery didn’t draft a quarterback in 2013, either. He did, however, re-sign McCown and have undrafted free agent Matt Blanchard as a working developmental quarterback up until a training camp hand injury. At that point Emery brought in Trent Edwards and Jordan Palmer to finish out the preseason, didn’t keep either on the roster to start the season, but brought Palmer back when Cutler was hurt. Palmer remained on the roster for the final nine games, didn’t play, but showed enough to be an early re-signing this offseason after making a solid impression on the coaching staff even without ever seeing the field for a regular-season game.
Emery may not draft a quarterback in 2014, either. But he has continued to work the garden even as McCown was leaving for a starting job with Tampa Bay.
CBSSports.com’s Jason LaCanfora reported that the Bears brought in free agent quarterback Adam Weber, who spent time with the Buccaneers’ practice squad and with the team through the offseason while Freeman was the starter.
Weber’s father, Bob, played at the University of Minnesota with coach Marc Trestman. Clearly Trestman and the Bears do not make roster decisions based on the coach’s college relationships one generation once removed. But Weber the Younger, an undrafted free agent in 2011 who signed with the Denver Broncos out of Minnesota, set the Golden Gophers’ career record for TD passes and was only the fifth Big Ten quarterback to pass for 10,000 yards.
As previously reported, Josh Freeman, whose situation as Tampa Bay’s first-round draft choice deteriorated and finally collapsed with subsequently fired coach Greg Schiano, was brought in for a Halas Hall visit. After the issues with the Buccaneers, Freeman was signed but not brought back by the Minnesota Vikings. Freeman was not immediately signed, Emery had said earlier in the offseason that the “Help Wanted” sign would be in place for the time being, even with Palmer as the frontrunner under contract to begin the season as Cutler’s backup.