Will Nick Foles be the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback this season or will it be incumbent Mitchell Trubisky? Most believe Foles will be the guy in Week 1. He 2019 season was cut short with the Jaguars. Here are Foles’ odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year as well as the Bears’ over/under win total.
One of the biggest draft mistakes in modern NFL history was in 2017 when Bears general manager Ryan Pace moved up from No. 3 overall to No. 2 – giving up a handful of picks to the San Francisco 49ers to do so. Pace could have selected Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson or Texas Tech signal-caller Patrick Mahomes. Those are now two of the brightest stars in the NFL and Mahomes is on a track that might see him best the best of all-time.
Instead, Pace took North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky even though he started just one year with the Heels. It could be that Trubisky has made his final start in a Chicago uniform after Pace gave up a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft to land Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles, the former Super Bowl MVP with Philadelphia. Foles and Trubisky will battle in camp for the starting job, but most expect Foles to win it. The Bears already turned down the fifth-year rookie option on Trubisky’s contract.
Foles became a folk hero in Philadelphia in the 2017 season. When starter Carson Wentz sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 14, Foles stepped in and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title. In three playoff wins, Foles threw for 971 yards and six touchdowns with a 115.7 rating. He earned MVP honors in Super Bowl LII after leading the Eagles to a 41-33 victory over the Patriots by passing for 373 yards and three TDs with a 106.1 rating and catching a 1-yard touchdown pass from tight end Trey Burton on a trick play dubbed the “Philly Special.” Burton had been on the Bears the past couple of seasons but was released this offseason.
Foles, 31, has appeared in 58 NFL games and compiled a 26-22 record in 48 starts over eight seasons with the Eagles (2012-14, 2017-18), Rams (2015), Chiefs (2016) and Jaguars (2019). He broke his collarbone in Week 1 last year and missed several weeks. He would get his starting job back when he returned but only briefly as the Jaguars liked what they saw in rookie Gardner Minshew.
Some have ripped the Bears for giving up a fourth-round pick for Foles when they could have simply signed someone like Jameis Winston, Cam Newton or Andy Dalton. However, Coach Matt Nagy wanted Foles, who has worked extensively with Nagy in the past, as the duo worked together in Philadelphia.
New Bears quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo also worked with Foles in the past, both with the Eagles and last season with the Jaguars as the team’s offensive coordinator. Chicago offensive coordinator Bill Lazor scouted Trubisky almost 10 years ago while serving as the offensive coordinator at Virginia. Lazor was also coaching Foles in his best season as a pro in 2013 in Philly, so the fit seems natural.
The Bears also restructured Foles’ contract. Foles’ new deal is a three-year contract worth $24 million with $21 million fully guaranteed. He’ll make $8 million in 2020 and can earn up to $6 million in annual incentives. The modified contract will reduce the cap hit for the Bears, but Foles will still be earning all the money he was guaranteed from the Jaguars.
When seeing how affordable the contracts for Newton and Winston were, it becomes extremely hard to justify the Bears’ decision to trade a fourth-round pick for the right to give Foles a three-year, $24 million contract with at least $17 million guaranteed.
Nagy said both Foles and Trubisky will play with the starters during the preseason. This of course assumes that teams are cleared to return for preseason games. Nagy doesn’t normally look to play his starters in August, but Chicago’s “open competition” under center will force the issue at hand this year.
The Bears are 1.5-point underdogs for Week 1 in Detroit.