It was announced this morning that Philip Rivers will be retiring after 17 years in the NFL. Rivers played well for the Colts this season — leading the team to the playoffs and an 11-5 record. The Colts played a good game but fell just short to the Bills on Wild Card Weekend. Apparently, that was not enough for either Philip Rivers or the Colts as Rivers announced his retirement, making things even more difficult for the Chicago Bears this offseason.
Not often the Chicago Bears would be concerned with the happenings of an AFC team. Typically, a team is only, or at least mostly, concerned about the moves within its own division. However, when it comes to the Chicago Bears this offseason must be focused on two things — finding a franchise quarterback and improving the offensive line.
Whatever else the Chicago Bears do will be window dressing as the offense has proven to not work with Nick Foles, Charles Leno or Bobby Massie. No matter if you believe the quarterback or the offensive line is more important, both must be addressed in 2021.
The 2021 NFL Draft is luckily deep at both positions, but with the Chicago Bears picking 20th overall, it will be difficult for the Bears to lock in a top prospect. Some believe this draft could be the most unprecedented draft in regards to how many quarterbacks go early. I am not sold on that fact since most mock drafts at this time wrongfully predict the number of quarterbacks that go in the first round, or at least within the first 15 picks. Things will settle down closer to April.
That said, now that Philip Rivers is retiring, the Colts will not have an option as a bridge quarterback. Many believed that Rivers would be back in 2021 and that the Colts could bring in a developmental quarterback to sit behind Rivers for a season or two. This could be someone like Kyle Trask, Mac Jones or even Jamie Newman. Now, the Colts will need to find a replacement who can step in and play on day one for Philip Rivers.
The Colts are picking only one spot behind the Chicago Bears (21st overall). This could be trouble for Ryan Pace and the Bears as they might want to move up in the first or second round to select a future quarterback. With the Colts now in the mix, the Bears could see the Colts leapfrog them and steal a quarterback prospect the Bears were targeting. The Colts could also be involved with free-agent quarterback options the Bears could be pursuing this year too.
The Chicago Bears must hope the Colts trade for Philip Rivers replacement
The only hope the Bears have with the Philip Rivers news that would take the Colts out of the picture as competition for either a quarterback in the draft or a top free-agent quarterback is if the Colts trade for Carson Wentz. This could be a legit option as it seems Wentz wants out of Philadelphia and Colts head coach Frank Reich might like a reunion with Wentz. Reich was the offensive coordinator of the Eagles in 2017 when Wentz had his MVP caliber season and the Eagles won the Super Bowl.
The only other option that could be beneficial for the Chicago Bears now that Philip Rivers is about to retire is if the Colts bring in Mitch Trubisky through free agency. It appears the Chicago Bears are not interested in bringing Trubisky back to Chicago in 2021. However, he will find an opportunity elsewhere. Maybe he only has to travel a few hours south to Indianapolis. In this scenario, the Colts will likely still look to the draft for a quarterback, but at least it leaves more free agents.
It appears that the Chicago Bears might need to focus on the offensive line in the first round and hope to find a developmental prospect in the second or third round. Free agency or a possible trade (Deshaun Watson is a pipedream, but let’s keep dreaming together) might be the better option for what is more of a win-now team with an aging defense. We as Bears fans might need to wait for the 2022 NFL Draft to see a better prospect drafted by Chicago.