Do Bears have a backup plan?

We know Chase Daniel isn’t the so­lu­tion if Mitch Tru­bisky fails to an­swer the ques­tions for Matt Nagy. So who is?

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - Pages 6-7

Will GM Pace add QB depth in case Tru­bisky can’t find suc­cess in fourth sea­son?

What would Tom Brady look like in a Bears uni­form? Don’t hold your breath. While he’s part of the quar­ter­back mu­si­cal chairs about to shake up the league, it’s un­likely the Bears would sign him to re­place freeagent-to-be Chase Daniel. In­stead, ex­pect a lower-tier QB through free agency or trade. We break down all of the op­tions.

Ryan Pace has left no un­cer­tainty about his Plan A for the Bears quar­ter­back sit­u­a­tion in 2020. The sixth-year gen­eral man­ager wants to see through his draft pick of Mitch Tru­bisky, whose in­con­sis­tency and re­gres­sion in 2019 pulled the team back­ward.

“We’ve seen this be­fore with young quar­ter­backs and the tri­als and tribu­la­tions they go through,” Pace said Dec. 31. “It’s part of it. Some­times if you stick with it and you see it through and you’re ded­i­cated to the de­vel­op­ment of the process, that can be very ben­e­fi­cial to the or­ga­ni­za­tion long term.”

But what about Plan B? What if Tru­bisky, in his fourth sea­son, can’t “smooth out those in­con­sis­ten­cies,” as Pace put it?

Yes, Pace de­scribed Tru­bisky’s er­ratic play as “just a growth process we’re all watch­ing take place.” But af­ter the Bears fin­ished last in the NFL in 2019 with 5.7 yards per pass, it stands to rea­son Pace and coach Matt Nagy will try to thicken the ice be­neath their feet in con­tin­u­ing with Tru­bisky’s de­vel­op­ment.

Pace said the Bears will ex­am­ine their quar­ter­back depth with an eye on up­grades over in­cum­bent backup Chase Daniel and third quar­ter­back Tyler Bray. But un­less Pace adopts a dif­fer­ent sales pitch from what he said pub­licly, any quar­ter­back who agrees to sign with the Bears would do so know­ing Tru­bisky is the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s pri­or­ity.

Still, be­fore Pace traded up to select Tru­bisky se­cond in 2017, he spoke of tak­ing mul­ti­ple swings at the quar­ter­back po­si­tion to en­sure a so­lu­tion. In the months ahead, we’ll learn whether Pace is again us­ing that ap­proach.

With that in mind, let’s sur­vey the land­scape of vet­eran quar­ter­backs who could be­come avail­able as free agents or via trade this off­sea­son.

They are listed in al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der within three cat­e­gories: en­trenched starters with ex­pir­ing con­tracts, lower-tier vet­er­ans headed to­ward free agency and quar­ter­backs un­der con­tract at least through 2020.

The Bears are es­ti­mated to have about $20 mil­lion in salary-cap space, which is be­low the league av­er­age. Of course, cap space can eas­ily be cre­ated by re­struc­tur­ing and/or ter­mi­nat­ing con­tracts. That’s part of the quar­ter­back puz­zle the Bears must put to­gether be­fore free agency opens March 18.

Here’s a look ahead to the 2020 quar­ter­back mar­ket, with each player’s 2019 team and 2020 open­ing-day age.

BRIAN CASSELLA/CHICAGO TRI­BUNE

STACEY WESCOTT/CHICAGO TRI­BUNE

Bears gen­eral man­ager Ryan Pace has plenty of op­tions to pur­sue to help im­prove the quar­ter­back po­si­tion.

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