The Jay Cutler trade isn’t the first time the Bears traded for a quarterback. The Bears have been searching for the franchise quarterback for decades. Roll back to 1997 when the Bears were coming off a 7-9 season in the midst of Dave Wannstedt’s tenure as Bears head coach. Erik Kramer, who’d set a bunch of passing records a couple years before but missed most of the 1996 season with a neck injury.
They were a couple of years removed from a playoff appearance and needed a franchise quarterback. Enter former Golden Domer, Rick Mirer. The Seahawks drafted Mirer with the second pick in the 1993 draft and dropped him right into the starting lineup. He set a bunch of rookie QB passing records, because back in those days, rookie quarterbacks usually sat next to the coach held the clipboard waiting for their turn. In hindsight, maybe Mirer should have spent some time on the bench.
Despite finishing second in offensive Rookie of the Year voting, Mirer’s career was downhill from there. He was handed a job he was never really ready for and eventually landed in Chicago for a first round draft pick that became Pro Bowl cornerback Shawn Springs.
Mirer was a one and done in Chicago with plenty of blame to go around for what went wrong, but he was considered the best option available:
"The entire Bears hierarchy went for the trade. Player personnel director Rod Graves rated Mirer higher than any other available quarterback; coach Dave Wannstedt supported the move; so did offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, entrusted with the job of re-starting Mirer’s career. So did team President Michael McCaskey and many players."
Does that sound familiar? Everyone likes Jimmy G because he’s young and attempted 100 NFL passes in three seasons in the league. At least Mirer had four seasons and over fifty starts in hand.