The Chicago Bears had a chance to pull off a playoff upset against the New Orleans Saints. It was going to be a challenge, as the Saints had one of the better defensive units in the NFL. Mitchell Trubisky had Chicago’s offense on a roll coming in, averaging over 30 points a game over their last five. The chances were slim, but the Bears had a shot.
The Bears’ offense could generate much, only scoring nine points the entire game. They lost the game 21-9 and now have to prepare for the offseason. The jury is still out on Trubisky’s future, with him on track to become a free agent. Trubisky thinks his time in Chicago isn’t done yet, saying that he and the Bears still have business to handle between them.
The Bears’ offense struggles against the Saints
Before their wild-card game against the Saints, Trubisky talked about how the Bears should be aggressive and attack New Orleans. That formula didn’t show up Sunday, as the Saints shut down Chicago’s offense. The Bears only totaled 239 yards of total offense and were 1-10 on third down.
Trubisky didn’t have a great game himself, struggling to give his offense any kind of spark. He finished the game with 199 yards and one touchdown. The lack of offensive production played a part in New Orleans’ ability to control the ball. The Saints won the possession match, holding the ball for over 38 minutes. If it weren’t for a last-second one-handed touchdown by Jimmy Graham, the Bears wouldn’t have found the endzone.
Chicago was in striking distance for most of the game, only trailing 7-3 at the half. Their offense could never find their way around this Saints defense. They did squander an opportunity early when Javon Mims dropped a touchdown on a trick play. It was a bad day for Trubisky and the Bears’ offense.
Going into the offseason, there are so many questions for the Bears to answer. Trubisky’s future with the team is one of those questions. After an up and down season, the former No. 2 overall pick still sees his football career in Chicago.
Mitchell Trubisky says he and the Bears have “unfinished business”
After their wild-card defeat, Trubisky didn’t hesitate to discuss what he thinks his future is in Chicago. He believes that he can return to the Bears next season, building on some of the late-season success he was able to build with the offense in 2020.
“I think I can definitely see myself back here next year. Obviously, a lot of that is out of my control, but it feels like home, and it feels like we have unfinished business,” said Trubiksy on a post-game zoom call per ESPN. Chicago didn’t pick up Trubisky’s fifth-year option on his rookie contract, meaning he would become an unrestricted free agent. He did believe that he improved his play after the Bears brought him back as the starter in Week 12, which helped them down the stretch.
“I feel like I got better [after the benching]. I feel like I got better this year. I feel like when I was put back in the starting lineup that the offense was better and I gave my team a chance to win, and we did win games, and that is why we were able to get back into the playoffs,” said Trubisky.
Trubiksy’s play did improve down the stretch, but the playoffs’ offensive flop is the lasting image in the Bears’ mind. The future of Mitchell Trubisky is uncertain, partially because of the potential price tag he could bring.
Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears’ future together
The only quarterback that is under contract for the Bears is Nick Foles. Foles didn’t play well when he was the starter and injured his hip against the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears don’t have many other sure options at quarterback, which makes bringing Trubisky back to the windy city a realistic possibility.
Chicago would need to sign him to a new contract or use their franchise tag to bring him back. The franchise tag would be about $23.5 million for quarterbacks, which is slightly below the $24.8 million they would’ve paid if they picked up Trubisky’s fifth-year option. If they offer him a new contract, it would be more of a long-term commitment. Trubisky hasn’t proven he is the long term answer at quarterback.
NFL.com has reported that the Bears were unlikely to bring Trubisky back unless he guided Chicago on a deep playoff run. However, where else can the Bears go for a quarterback? They can trade for one, but they would need to give up valuable assets. The free-agent market doesn’t have much talent at quarterback, and drafting one doesn’t seem smart given they have a championship defense. Chicago and Trubisky might need each other more than they think.
Mitchell Trubisky feels like he can find success with the Bears, and he believes his career will continue there. Chicago has questions at quarterback, head coach, and general manager, the three most important positions in the NFL. Trubisky wants his finish what he started in Chicago but who knows if he’ll get that opportunity.
All stats courtesy of ESPN