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Mitchell Trubisky was considered the top quarterback in this year’s draft class, but no one was higher on him than the Chicago Bears.
The Bears entered the NFL Draft with the third overall pick, but when they became concerned that another team would swoop in and take Trubisky with pick No. 2, they acted. The Bears traded their first-, third- and fourth-round selections, as well as a 2018 third rounder, to the San Francisco 49ers for the second overall pick, essentially trading away three young players to move up one spot.
The trade was controversial for a number of reasons. The Bears gave up a king’s ransom for a relatively small payoff – there was no guarantee Trubisky was going to be taken by another team – and while Trubisky clearly had talent, he wasn’t considered a can’t-miss quarterback prospect.
To complicate matters further, the Bears had just signed free agent Mike Glennon to a three-year deal, with the plan to install him as the starting signal caller.
But none of that seemed to matter to Chicago general manager Ryan Pace and football fans far and wide had a field day questioning the trade.
Fast forward four months, and it looks like the Bears could end up with the last laugh.
Trubisky was electrifying in his preseason debut, hitting 18 out of 25 passes for 166 yards in just over one half of action in a loss to the Denver Broncos. He connected on his first ten passes upon entering the game and threw for a touchdown near the end of the first half, bringing the home crowd to its feet.
— NFL (@NFL) August 11, 2017
“It was important for me to not just let this moment go by,” Trubisky said. “Soaking it in, especially at Soldier Field… Hopefully it’s the first game in a long journey.”
Trubisky’s performance looked even better next to Glennon, who completed just two of eight pass attempts for 20 yards and threw an interception. The 27 year old finished the game with a passer rating of 0.0.
Still, Chicago head coach John Fox maintained that Glennon will begin the season as the starting quarterback. Glennon is owed $45 million over the next three seasons, though only $18.5 million of that is guaranteed.
“Our depth chart is not going to change after one game,” Fox said, according to ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson. “That’s a really good defense our first unit went against, probably one of the top three defenses in the league. You have to look at a lot of different things. I can understand how you guys might think [we could make a change], but we’re not going to change a whole lot after one game.”
The Bears have been unwavering in their support of Glennon, but if the rest of the preseason plays out like Thursday’s game, Trubisky could force Fox’s hand. The team isn’t expected to sniff playoff contention this year, so it would make sense to give most of the playing time to the quarterback of the future.
Either way, Chicago’s big draft day trade already looks better than it did four months ago. Whether or not he’s named the starter, Trubisky looked great in his first attempt at running an NFL offense, and he’s only going to get more comfortable under center.
The Bears’ next game is set for August 19 against the Arizona Cardinals.