Five Worst Trades in Chicago Bears History
5. 1977- The Bears acquire QB Mike Phipps from the Cleveland Browns for a first round pick in 1978. The Browns use that pick to select future hall of famer Ozzie Newsome.
As it turns out a lot of bad decisions the team has made (trades and draft choices) over the years have been based around the fact that the Bears never seem to be able to land themselves a quarterback. Since Sid Luckman, the Bears have really only had two viable quarterbacks (Jim McMahon and Jay Cutler), every other season has largely been quarterbacked by journeymen and game managers.
In 1977 the Bears decided that Mike Phipps was the player they needed to bring their team ot the next level. Phipps was the third overall pick in the 1970 draft and was supposed to be a superstar coming out of Purdue.
Phipps had one decent season for Cleveland in 1972, but all his other seasons were riddled with interceptions, poor production, and plenty of losses. Eventually, Phipps injured his shoulder in 1976 and lost his job to Brian Sipe and Cleveland shipped him off to the Bears.
Phipps never amounted to anything with the Bears. The writing was in the wall in 1976 that Phipps was a flat out bust, but the Bears still saw the collegiate star and thought he could still become a good quarterback. He couldn’t. In 31 career games over five seasons with Chicago, Phipps had a 57.1 passer rating, 15 TD passes and 27 interceptions. He did manage to lead the Bears to the playoffs in 1979, but he had an embarrassing performance against the Eagles in that postseason game completing just 40% of his passes, 2 interceptions and zero touchdowns. The Bears lost 27-17 and it was only that close thanks to two Walter Payton touchdowns. It’s no wonder the Bears went back to the draft in 1982 and selected Jim McMahon in the first round.
If Phipps up and down career with the Bears wasn’t bad enough, the draft pick the Bears traded to Cleveland could have been useful for Chicago. The Browns selected Ozzie Newsome who would go on to have a tremendous career and was eventually enshrined in Canton. Newsome is widely considered one of the top ten tight ends to ever play the sport and the Bears lost an opportunity to draft him for another failed quarterback.