Bears expected to sign Mike Glennon, and the money might not be as bad as you think

Ever since news trickled out of the NFL scouting combine that free-agent quarterback Mike Glennon — he of the 11 pass attempts the past two seasons — was set to earn more than $14 million per season, the collective response seemed to be that any team signing him for that much must be out of its damned mind.

Well, the Chicago Bears are apparently going that deep for Glennon — but the fine print here is important.

Start with the number that means the most: the guaranteed money. Signing a starting quarterback for $19 million is not that unwieldy, even if the Bears view Glennon as having the next year (or maybe two) to prove himself before they hand off to a younger QB. And all signs point to the Bears drafting a QB to groom behind Glennon.

Mike Glennon is expected to sign with the Chicago Bears in free agency. (AP)
Mike Glennon is expected to sign with the Chicago Bears in free agency. (AP)

Glennon’s upside doesn’t appear especially grand, but then again his floor shouldn’t be too low. This is very uninspiring talk for a team that has waded through years of Jay Cutler crests and crashes the past eight seasons, but landing a solid performer now for low-end starter money isn’t the worst thing the Bears could have done. The guaranteed percentage of Glennon’s proposed deal is 42.4 percent, which is well below where most starting-level, bridge QB or top-five backups land; most of them are north of 50 percent.

So it’s a one- or two-year deal. Maybe if you put it next to Brian Hoyer’s two-year, $6 million contract he’ll soon sign with the San Francisco 49ers, it doesn’t look like the most thrifty allocation of resources. But the staff is saying that Glennon is better in their eyes than Hoyer and that it’s likely they’ll draft a quarterback who can push Glennon either way.

If the Bears truly were driving up their own price, with no real serious bidders pushing them on Glennon, then we can find real fault with that. That’s never good negotiating, and the Bears’ organizational concerns would be ripe for criticism again. But in a vacuum, this might not be as bad a move on the surface as it appeared less than a week ago.

We’ll find more out when the full numbers emerge. But the Bears have landed a starter for the time being prior to the draft, which takes pressure off a rookie having to step in Day 1 and perform. It could be a decent short-term answer with strong long-term gains if they find the right rookie to pair with Glennon. That’s asking a lot for a team that hasn’t spent higher than a fourth-round pick on a quarterback since 2003, but it’s also the approach it needs in such a critical time for the franchise.

The general manager and coach are fighting right now to keep their jobs. The Bears could lose some of their own free agents and miss out on signing others. They had to do something — and fast — and they have addressed a critical need for low-end QB starter money.

It’s maybe not as bad as you thought. If that’s not a Bears-ish compliment, then I don’t know what is.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!