Weeks later, the signing of Mike Glennon still feels like impending doom.
On March 10th, the Chicago Bears signed Mike Glennon to a 3-year, $45 million contract. I really wanted to be positive about the signing, I really did. I wanted to fully believe and support the decision by Ryan Pace to replace Jay Cutler with a relatively unknown backup that has had a mild level of experience with mixed results at the NFL level.
Like I said, I really wanted to be positive.
But if you’ll notice (I’m sure none of you really did), I didn’t write a story about Glennon. I didn’t give an opinion in an article one way or the other. I didn’t want to just blast the signing without any real context, so I decided to sit quiet and wait.
I was all-in on the chase for Jimmy Garoppolo, but when that fizzled, I really didn’t know what I wanted the Bears to do with their QB situation. So when the rumors started about the $45 million contract, I really started rolling my eyes. Fortunately, it’s basically only a one-year guarantee, so as obnoxious as the contract may look for a backup quarterback, in reality, the Bears aren’t risking too much.
I also had no problem with the Bears replacing Jay Cutler. First, I believe that Cutler is a better quarterback than Glennon. So while, if I believe that statement as fact, it shouldn’t make any sense to sign Glennon, I can at least agree that Glennon’s ceiling is currently higher than what Cutler’s is. The Bears knew what they had in Cutler, and for a rebuilding team, it simply didn’t make sense to keep him.
But again, there was this sense of doom about the Mike Glennon signing that wouldn’t go away and still hasn’t. And then I realized, that sense of dread has nothing to do with Glennon, it has to do with the Chicago Bears.
When Cutler was under center, sure, you knew there were quarterbacks in the league that were better than him, but you also certainly knew there were quarterbacks that were worse. Cutler brought one thing to the most important position on a football team- stability.
Each year, Bears’ fans knew who was quarterbacking the team. They knew Cutler had talent too. The fact that he never quite maximized that talent may have been frustrating for fans, but at least they knew who to expect at quarterback.
That consistency can’t be overrated. As a Bears’ fan try to remember the last time the Bears had that kind of stability at the quarterback position. The truth is you can’t remember because the last time they did it was Sid Luckman.
Cutler led the team in passing for seven consecutive seasons. It would have been eight if not for this year’s injury. The last time the Bears had a streak that long it was Luckman from 1940 to 1948. Even when Jim McMahon was under center, his proneness to injury left everything uncertain week-to-week. Uncertainty at the quarterback position is awful. Now that the league has shifted to more of a passing league, it’s even worse.
Perhaps you forgot the Bears QB situation before Cutler so let me remind you. Here is the list of quarterbacks that led the Bears in passing for at least a season from 1993 to 2008 (the final season before Cutler): Jim Harbaugh, Steve Walsh, Erik Kramer, Dave Kreig, Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Jim Miller, Kordell Stewart, Chad Hutchinson, Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton and Brian Griese.
That’s not exactly a who’s who and it certainly brings back a lot of bad memories. The Bears have entered a new era of uncertainty at quarterback. Maybe Mike Glennon is going to be a surprise and could be as good as Matt Ryan and this era only lasts for a season. Maybe Glennon is a bridge QB and the rookie QB they almost certainly will draft this year turns out to be the next Cam Newton and the era only lasts two or three seasons. But what if Glennon is only a bridge and the QB drafted is a bust? How long will this era of uncertainty last? Five years? Ten years? Fifty years?
the modern era NFL has proven you can’t win without a good quarterback. The Bears haven’t had this big of a question at this position in a decade. Perhaps Ryan Pace has the perfect plan in place and my concern is for naught. Perhaps I should be optimistic about the future at quarterback. But I am a Bears’ fan. I have decades of mediocre quarterback play to show me that the only attitude to have is a pessimistic one.
Maybe Pace will provide Chicago with the best quarterback we’ve ever seen, but I have experience on my side, so until Pace proves me wrong, I’m just going to assume we’re doomed.