The NFL Combine isn't just about timing draft prospects in the 40-yard dash or measuring how high they can jump. It's also when free-agency plans begin crystallizing with general managers meeting with agents of prospective veteran targets.
And that's why the rumors that come from Indianapolis often have more value than any other time In the offseason.
In the case of the Bears, those rumors are beginning to swirl around the quarterback position.
Strong sense here in Indy the Bears will be adding established veteran QB to push starter Mitch Trubisky, likely looking for pedigree and extensive starter's experience.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) February 27, 2020
It's important to pay close attention to the words Fowler used: The Bears are in the market for a veteran who can push Mitch Trubisky, not necessarily replace him.
Ryan Pace has always preached competition as the key to bringing the best out of every player. There's been no competition for Trubisky since he unseated Mike Glennon for the starting job as a rookie in 2017, and while that's normally the case for a quarterback drafted as highly as Trubisky, he's been given more than enough time to hold the presumed-starter role.
So who will the Bears target? Players like Marcus Mariota, Case Keenum and Andy Dalton are the first who come to mind. They won't cost nearly as much to acquire as players like Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater or Jameis Winston and all profile as quality backups who can emerge as capable starters, much like Ryan Tannehill was for the Titans in 2019.
Fowler's tweet also suggests the Bears may not be in the market for a quarterback early in the 2020 NFL draft. If, in fact, they add a veteran passer in free agency, it would be a waste of a second-round pick to select a rookie who'd, at best, be QB3 in 2020. They'd be better off focusing on a developmental prospect toward the end of Day 3.
One thing seems pretty obvious at this point: The Bears will have a quarterback competition in training camp, even if it isn't touted as one publicly. Trubisky won't be handed the starting job in 2020; he'll have to earn it, and that may be what brings the very best out of him.
There's a 'strong sense' Bears will add a veteran QB in free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago