Chicago Bears: Do free agent quarterbacks help new teams?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears are going to need to upgrade their quarterback room in 2020. Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray are about to become unrestricted free agents. Not to mention, Mitchell Trubisky needs some competition. The question is, can a free agent quarterback help the Bears make the playoffs?

Many fans on social media are calling for Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears to add a top free-agent quarterback from this 2020 free-agent market. This made me wonder, is adding a free agent quarterback worth it or should the Bears stand behind Mitchell Trubisky until the end?

What is great about this is that we can take a look back at prior seasons to see just how well teams have done with a new, free-agent quarterback leading the way. This is not necessarily an exact science, but it will be interesting to see if a trend exists.

If we take a look at 2019, there are actually two teams in the playoffs with quarterbacks that the team added via free agency. Ryan Tannehill has been fantastic for the Tennessee Titans this season. He has helped the Titans make the playoffs despite struggling for years in Miami. The Vikings are the other team. As we know, the Vikings added free agent Kirk Cousins to the first-ever fully guaranteed contract. This is year two for Cousins but they made the playoffs.

2018 was less successful than 2019 in regards to free-agent quarterbacks helping their team make the playoffs. Not a single team that made the playoffs last year had a free agent quarterback leading their team. Not unless you count Nick Foles who was brought back as a free agent backup and filled in when Carson Wentz went down with an injury.

In 2017, the Vikings found a way to make the playoffs with a different free-agent quarterback at the helm. Case Keenum was a surprise in 2017 with his career year. It was not enough though as the Vikings parted ways with Keenum the next year for Kirk Cousins. Technically Tyrod Taylor fits the free-agent quarterback trend. In his third year in Buffalo, the Bills made the playoffs with a 9-7 record. Foles too can be mentioned, but again he was a backup, not a starter.

2016 the trend continues. The Houston Texans made the playoffs with Brock Osweiler at quarterback. This led to Osweiler making a decent amount of money despite not being that good of a quarterback. This is also when I noticed the teams who repeatedly make the playoffs have a quarterback that the team drafted opposed to signed in free agency. It seems a team can make the playoffs with a free-agent quarterback, but they do not sustain the success.

Is this really what we want in Chicago? Do we want to make the playoffs in 2020 and then fizzle out of existence again? Personally, I’d prefer to see the Chicago Bears sustain their success. I went back to 2010 and during the last decade, 13 teams made the playoffs with a free-agent quarterback. This includes multiple years of the Broncos making it with Peyton Manning.

We need to think about this though. 13 teams in 10 years worth of playoff appearances. That is 13 out of 120 teams. Yikes, that is a 10.8 percent success rate. Out of those 13, only two won Super Bowls. One was Foles as the quarterback of the Eagles, but again he was brought in to be a backup, not a potential starter like most want to see here in Chicago. Does that nullify that one as an example? Personally, I say yes it does.

The other, more legit example, is when the Broncos won the Super Bowl in 2015. The Broncos also appeared in the Super Bowl in 2013 with Manning. However, Manning becoming a free agent was somewhat of a fluke. It would be like Drew Brees hitting free agency in 2020 or Tom Brady switching teams this offseason. Those examples do not even really compare to Manning.

Looking to add a guy like Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Marcus Mariota, or Josh Rosen (the list goes on ) to the Chicago Bears roster in 2020 is not going to get them closer to a Super Bowl. The trend is not there for a free agent quarterback to succeed consistently with his new team. Just 10.8 percent have worked out over the last 10 years and less than 2 percent have won a Super Bowl.

Next. 2020 Draft: Late-Round Quarterback Targets for Bears. dark

If you really want the Chicago Bears to succeed, then root for Trubisky or root for Ryan Pace to draft a quarterback this year to compete and take over for Trubisky. These two scenarios are more likely to lead the Bears to sustained success than signing one of the free-agent quarterbacks you are coveting this offseason.