The Bears’ aggressive decision to trade up and draft Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 pick won’t create a quarterback competition this summer and fall, general manager Ryan Pace said.
Pace made it clear that Mike Glennon, who the Bears signed in March, will be the team’s starting quarterback when they open the 2017 season Sept. 10 against the Atlanta Falcons.
“There’s no quarterback competition when Mitch gets here,” Pace said. “Glennon is our starting quarterback. We’ll focus on Mitch’s development and Mike Glennon winning games for the Chicago Bears.”
Both Glennon and Trubisky, though, are no strangers to quarterback competitions — and coming out on the wrong side of them. Glennon, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, lost his starting job midway through the 2013 season to Josh McCown, then permanently was relegated to backup duty when Jamies Winston was picked first overall in 2014.
Trubisky, too, was unable to beat out Marquise Williams for North Carolina’s starting quarterback job in 2014 and 2015, only taking over after the graduation of Williams, an undrafted free agent who didn’t stick on an NFL roster. Pace pointed to Williams having “chemistry” within the Tarheels’ offense, though, which powered North Carolina to an 11-win season in 2015.
Pace said the Bears don’t have a timetable for when they expect Trubisky to take over as the team’s starter. But given Glennon’s contract is structured so the Bears could cut him for $2.5 million next year — bringing his guaranteed money to $18.5 million — there could be an opening for Trubisky as soon as 2018.
It’s worth noting, too, that it’s rare for quarterbacks in the same range as Trubisky to not play in their rookie years. The last quarterback drafted in the top 10 to not start a game their first year in the league was Tennessee’s Jake Locker (eighth overall) in 2011. And the last time a quarterback effectively was benched his entire rookie year was 2004, when fourth overall pick Philip Rivers appeared in two games and attempted eight passes for the San Diego Chargers.
But the Bears won’t plan on Trubisky taking playing time away from Glennon this fall, and feel they have an ideal situation set up to develop their highest draft pick since the AFL-NFL merger.
“I talked to Mike tonight, he understands the competitiveness of our business at every single position,” Pace said. “Mike also understands he’s our starting quarterback. Mike’s been here working hard all the time, already developing leadership with his teammates. I’m extremely excited about Mike Glennon this season and I’m extremely excited about adding Mitch to our roster.”