Mike Glennon Signing: Facts And Fictions

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Quarterback Mike Glennon
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Quarterback Mike Glennon /

Mike Glennon has been hung around the neck of Ryan Pace like an albatross.  Some of this is absolutely fair, other parts of it are not.  Let us try to separate fact from fiction.


Mike Glennon was a really bad quarterback who had not shown enough to be given a shot at the top job in the NFL.


Mike Glennon occupied the top job for a full season and in that season put up 2,608 yards with 19 TDs and only 9 INTs.  That’s an almost 2:1 ratio which is decent even if it is not spectacular.  The team replaced him with extremely talented rookie who would have pushed out a number of starting quarterbacks in the league.  There was no shame in it.  Over his three years, he managed to have a completion percentage of 59.4% and a TD:INT ratio of 2:1.  He clearly defined the term game manager, but teams have won before with game managers under center.  I am looking at you 2000 Baltimore Ravens.

The truth is that Glennon had shown enough to believe that he would protect the football and not lose games.  He was the perfect “John Fox Quarterback.”  His mission was not to lose games, winning them was secondary.  There was enough there to give him a shot at it.


All of the experts hated the signing and questioned Ryan Pace on why he would sign Glennon.


Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears /

Chicago Bears

Many people thought that Glennon had starter potential including the “experts,” but questioned the amount of money spent on him.  You can check out what they have to say here (we will deal with the money later, this is just about talent):

Chicago Tribune (Brad Biggs) and another

USA TODAY (Tom Pelissero)

NBC Sports (Michael David Smith)

Yahoo Sports (Eric Edholm)

USA TODAY (Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz)

People already knew that Glennon was considered to be one of the best options available in a particularly weak free agent class.  Brian Hoyer was already older and seen as having no upside.  Teams that were looking at Glennon were looking at his potential and not necessarily at his production in Tampa Bay.  Many in the league and in the “expert” circles thought that Glennon had at least a limited starter potential.

Glennon was always a bridge QB.  The hope was that he would show enough to get traded like Sam Bradford had the year previous, that was the template that the Bears were trying to follow.  It did not work out that way, but that was the hope, and there was reason to think that it could happen in a league starving for even mediocre quarterback play.


Pace massively overpaid for Glennon.


Ian Rapoport had good things to say about Mike Glennon’s signing at the time.  You can watch the video of it here.  He clearly states that this is what a starting quarterback in the NFL is going to cost you in today’s game.

Pace paid Glennon the 23rd highest starting quarterback salary in the league.  It is absolutely a fair criticism to say that Pace bid against himself and that he could have paid less.  That said, he did a good job of protecting himself and the team by structuring the contract in such a way that it was essentially a one year deal that did not hinder the organization if Glennon did not work out.  Pace structured it in a way that if he had done well, he would have been easily tradable with the  lower per year contract numbers still owed to him.


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Glennon’s massive contract prevented the Bears from signing/resigning…. (Jeffery, Boye, etc. etc.)


The Bears had plenty of cap room and had more than enough flexibility to be able to restructure a number of contracts to fit in just about anyone they wanted to sign.  The narrative that Pace’s signing of Glennon cost us “X” player is preposterous.  Glennon’s signing affected two people: Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky.  End of list.  The Bears could have brought in any free agent that would have agreed to a contract with them, but as both Brad Biggs and Matt Eurich point out, money did not matter, the players did not want to sign with us, and that was the real problem.


The Bears should have signed Nick Foles to play instead of Glennon.


Despite his amazing play during the 2017 playoffs and Superbowl, Foles was a career journeyman who had been a backup for most of his career.  His accuracy was not truly better than Glennon’s as he had a 60.1% completion rate, and his TD:INT ratio was 56:27 or roughly 2:1.  Notice that it is the same as Glennon’s.  Nothing to separated them except that Glennon is younger and many saw a player who could develop into something where as Foles was not.  Foles may find himself traded this off-season and then extended.  He has earned that with his play, but the question remains, will he continue to play this well somewhere else and with another offense?

It is not fair to criticize this in hindsight.  30 other GMs chose not to pick up Foles, and a number of them needed both starters and back-up QBs as well.

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Glennon is simply a horrible quarterback.


In the NFL, such a thing is extremely hard to determine.  Sure, the best can play in almost any system, but numerous quarterbacks have shown us that even mid to lower level talent can succeed when given the right system and supporting cast (somewhere Brad Johnson and Jeff Hostetler hold up their rings).  Even Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton, and Rex Grossman had some decent seasons in Chicago.

Glennon could very well have been a victim of the “predictable” offense run by Dowell Loggains which made it hard on everyone both in Chicago and in Tennessee.  I am not saying that he is a frontline starter, or even a starter, but it is very tough to evaluate him given the system in which he was attempting to play.


Con: Ryan Pace deserves criticism for paying Glennon considerably more money than he had to.  He also deserves criticism for misevaluating his talent and ability.  He took a gamble that he could have invested a lot less into, and given the fact that the gamble did not pay off, it looks horrible in hindsight.

Pro: Pace deserves credit for ensuring that his gamble would not hurt the team in the long-term.  His comment that you can recover from the players you do not sign, but that it is hard to recover from the ones that you do is true.  In the end, Glennon’s tenure with the team will end with a bit of the dusting off of hands.  It is a bit of “no harm, no foul.”

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In the end, Glennon cost the Bears nothing but money.  No draft picks and no free agents.  We must take this into account when evaluating the disaster that is the “Glennon Signing.”

Had the gamble paid off, had we been shopping him this off-season for some early round draft picks, then there would be a completely different feel to this signing, but that is not how it worked out.  We may never know how much of Glennon’s struggles were due to the poor coaching from Dowell Loggains, but it would be interesting if another OC could work him into a respectable starter.  It would not be the first time that something like that happened to the Bears.

That said, the Bears pay Pace to see what others do not.  They pay him to see how players will fit with his coaching staff and players already on the roster.  In this case, it did not work out and he is on record calling Mike Glennon a starting caliber quarterback.  Those words will haunt him.  If he never becomes one, then he’s a player that Pace grossly misevaluated, regardless of how many other people misevaluated him as well.  If he does move on and do well, people will criticize Pace for how he allowed his coaching staff to misuse Glennon.

The bottom line is that while Glennon was a well hedged bet, he was still a bad bet.  Pace’s job is to see that coming, and the fact that he did not is a blotch on his record.  That said, he deserves praise for not guaranteeing anything to Glennon that will harm the team moving forward.  The signing ended up not working out, but thankfully it is no more damaging to us than four losses last year.

Be frustrated with Pace for bidding against himself to get “his guy,” but give him credit for making sure that the biggest cost to the team was nothing more than three losses in an otherwise meaningless season.

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