No one is saying he’s the best option, but Mitch Trubisky could be a target for Washington

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Ryan Homler
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No one is saying he’s the best option, but Trubisky could be a target originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Back in 2017 as the Carolina Panthers prepared to take on the Chicago Bears, Ron Rivera noted that he was impressed with certain traits Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky had displayed early in his career.

“Leadership,” Rivera said. “When you watch him when he was playing — I love watching guys that either get on their teammates when they’re not doing it or they take accountability when they make a mistake. And you saw that with him."

"We think the young man has got what it takes," Rivera said. "We like who’s he’s gonna become. We do. We think the future can be bright for him. We are big fans here.”

At the time, those comments meant nothing to anyone in the Washington sports landscape. Rivera was the head coach of the Panthers, and Trubisky was just beginning his tenure with Chicago. So who cares?

Well fast forward to 2021 and those words now relate to the Washington Football Team, sort of.

Trubisky and the Bears' relationship might be over as he's an unrestricted free agent. Rivera is now in Washington and his team could use another quarterback in the mix alongside Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen.

As much as it may pain some to hear it, that means Trubisky could be an option for Washington for the 2021 season.

Washington would love to grab a top quarterback like Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson, but there's a slim chance of that happening. The same can be said for landing a top prospect like Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Zach Wilson. Draft capital and positioning just make the best options hard to acquire.

Therefore, someone like Trubisky is a more realistic free-agent target for Washington. What Rivera wants heading into the 2021 season is a strong quarterback competition that features passers with starting potential and upside. Even though there have been some down moments, Trubisky offers that.

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The No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft came into the league with little starting experience, making his draft status somewhat of a surprise. Yet in 2018, he showed flashes of what Chicago envisioned when they traded up for him.

An 11-3 record, 66% completion percentage, 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 421 rushing yards brought Chicago to the playoffs and a double doink was the only thing keeping Trubisky from earning a postseason victory. When he's on, Trubisky can be an NFL starting-caliber quarterback.

With a solid arm and way more mobility and athleticism than many realize, Trubisky can work in an offense and control the passing game. Many hoped that 2018 would be a launching point for Trubisky to become elite, and while that hasn't been the case, it's not like he's fallen off a cliff.

Specifically, in 2020, Trubisky was 6-3 as the starter with a 67% completion percentage. He may have been benched for Nick Foles, but it was a decision that didn't make much sense at the time and looked even worse when No. 10 helped Chicago sneak into the playoffs.

What Trubisky needs moving forward is the right situation. A place where there is a solid defense and some weapons around him that allow him to work within the game and not have to win it on his own, similar to what Chicago had in 2018. Washington can offer just that, with a stellar defense and an offense that is one or two additions away from reaching a new level.

What Washington needs -- if it can't truly find the future of the position this offseason -- is a quarterback capable of coming in, competing and helping the team win football games for the time being. Even if it hasn't always seemed like it, Trubisky has done that throughout his young career.

Additionally, the character he's displayed is something Rivera liked in 2017 and would most likely still appreciate in 2021. The quarterback took an early-season benching in stride, continued to work, and made the most of his opportunity when his name was called upon. With the quarterback position in Washington fluctuating constantly in recent years, that type of attitude is beneficial to the room.

Trubisky isn't perfect, and he's not Option A for Washington this offseason. The free agent passer is more like Option D or E, but that doesn't take him off the table. 

If the dream scenario for Washington doesn't work out, the team will be in need of a formidable quarterback option at a discount than can compete. Not the future face of the franchise, but someone who can keep the team competitive in 2021. Not everyone may like it, but Mitch Trubisky can be that.