June 23, 2024

To draft a QB or not to draft a QB is the top question of the Chicago Bears‘ impending offseason, but adding a veteran backup via free agency is a possible outcome regardless of the team’s decision.

Bill Barnwell of ESPN on Thursday, December 21, suggested that Jacoby Brissett of the Washington Commanders will be a top option for the Bears if they decide to supplement their quarterback room this offseason.

“Coach Matt Eberflus was the defensive coordinator with the [Indianapolis] Colts when Jacoby Brissett was thrust into the starting lineup after Andrew Luck’s retirement in 2019,” Barnwell wrote. “It’s possible the Bears could add a new backup to either mentor a rookie or provide a higher floor when Fields misses time, but they wouldn’t be in the market for a significant veteran addition to start.”

Jacoby Brissett Offers Bears Viable NFL Starter as Backup QB

Bears Linked to $8 Million Veteran Quarterback
Bears Linked to $8 Million Veteran Quarterback

Brissett has been a journeyman since entering the NFL, playing for five teams over his eight-year professional career. Despite that, the 31-year-old quarterback has actually been a starter more frequently than a backup.

Brissett has played 78 games across stints with the New England Patriots, Colts, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and Commanders, starting 48 of those contests. Brissett has completed 61.2% of his 1,587 career pass attempts for 10,474 yards, 50 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He has also rushed the football 229 times for 905 yards and 15 touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference.

Washington signed Brissett to a one-year, $8 million deal in March following a 4-7 run as the Browns’ starter in 2022.

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Brissett makes sense as a backup for Fields, even despite the presence of undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent on the roster. However, Brissett makes even more sense as an alternate option should the Bears decide to draft a quarterback in 2024, which Barnwell predicted on Thursday they will do.

Chicago owns the Carolina Panthers‘ top overall pick via a trade from earlier this year, which is currently the No. 1 selection, per Tankathon. Barnwell said that either Drake Maye or Caleb Williams of North Carolina and USC, respectively, are the QBs the Bears are “most likely to pursue,” which means Fields is destined for the trade block.

“Trading Fields would still expect to land the Bears a top-40 pick to replace the one they sent the Commanders for Montez Sweat,” Barnwell wrote. “If Fields was a no-doubt franchise quarterback, this would be a tough choice, but the ability to add a better prospect at a cheaper cost is an opportunity the Bears can’t afford to miss.”

Fields’ contract will pay him $3.2 million in cash in 2024 during the final season of his initial four-year, $18.9 million rookie deal with a salary cap hit just north of $6 million. Any team that trades for Fields will also trade for the opportunity to exercise a fifth-year option on his deal and keep him under a cost-controlled contract for the next two seasons.

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