Bears 2016 Free Agent Options: Quarterback

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Free Agent QBs:

Brock Osweiler – Let me reiterate that I don’t think the Bears are giving up on Jay Cutler in 2016, but if they were going to replace him it would be with a QB who they think has more long-term upside. Osweiler showed flashes of being an above-average QB in his first chance to start this season, including winning a road game over the Bears in his debut.

Head coach John Fox was in Denver when they drafted Osweiler and has seen his development progress first hand. If the Broncos end up keeping Peyton Manning for another season, then it could give the Bears a unique opportunity to find a young QB (25) with upside.

Osweiler started seven games last season and completed 61.8% of his passes, went 5-2, averaged 260 passing yards per start, and threw 10 TDs against 6 INTs. Averaging less then an INT per game is pretty impressive for a QB in his first opportunity as a starter, but the Broncos game plan was fairly conservative.

The Bears offensive scheme is conservative as well and not all that different from what Osweiler ran with the Broncos last season. He’s got ideal size (6’7 | 240), is a surprising athlete, and at only 25 years old has a lot of upside still.

Releasing Cutler this year would result in a $16M cap hit and force the Bears to spend a large chunk of their $50M cap space on a new QB, which would take away money from other positions of need. If the Bears wait one more year, it would only cost them a $3M hit to release Cutler. They would have to be really sold on Osweiler (or maybe Cousins / Bradford) for the Bears to take that type of cap hit this season.

Chase Daniel – Undersized QB (6’0), but Daniel played so well last preseason that many Chiefs fans were calling for him to be the starter. I watched Daniel’s 17-21, 3 TD game against the Cardinals during the preseason and came away impressed with Daniel’s accuracy and decision making. He’s only made two regular season starts and none in 2015, but Daniel held his own when given a chance with a 1-1 record, a 64% completion rate, 357 yards, 1 TD, and zero interceptions.

At only 29 years old, Daniel may be looking for a starter’s gig somewhere and may not be willing to be a back up on a new team. Though with Cutler in basically the last year of his guaranteed money, the possibility of being the starter for the Bears in 2017 may be enough to tempt Daniel.