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For Bears QB Conundrum, A Magic Solution

First of all, congratulations to Ryan Pace for not yet having made a lopsided trade for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz or whichever other veteran signal-caller he might overpay for (with players and picks in a trade) and overpay (salary) in the current offseason.

I have a much better idea and will get to it shortly.

Does anyone really think Wentz (who was awful last year and hasn't been anything special since his 13-game starting stint in 2017 - the run that was interrupted by the season-ending injury that cleared the way for Nick Foles to lead the Eagles to glory) is the guy to get the Bears over the hump?

The only experienced, available NFL quarterback this offseason with even an above-average chance to lead a team to the Super Bowl has already been traded - soon-to-be former Lion Matthew Stafford. And say what you will about what the Rams gave up for him (and to get rid of soon-to-be former Ram QB Jared Goff's huge contract) - Tom Brady's first-year veteran quarterback feats last season for the Bucs suggest there is at least a chance the acquisition of Stafford will eventually be seen as a bargain.

The Rams will send away (when the trade is made official on March 17) a third-round pick this year, first-round picks in '22 and '23, and, of course, Goff, who you might remember took the Rams to the Super Bowl a couple years ago. Okay so that is actually a lot - it is actually going to be tough for this move to ever qualify as a bargain. But anyway . . .

The Bears missed out on Stafford (not that they were going to get him after the Lions found someone outside the division who was willing to pay their price). And they won't be trading for Deshaun Watson, for goodness sake. Remember that I said "experienced and available." Watson is simply not available to the Bears. Actually, the only possible Watson trade that even begins to make sense for the Texans was explained by former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum earlier this week and it is as simple as can be - straight up for the Cowboys' Dak Prescott.

There is no way in the universe the resource-poor Bears can put together a package better than Prescott. Neither can anyone else, really, except maybe if the Jaguars wanted to start a package with soon-to-be first pick Trevor Lawrence (he's about as can't-miss a rookie as can be but he will still be a rookie this coming season and therefore would only be the start of a deal).

But Prescott is just as much of a budding superstar as Watson is. The 25-year-old Watson is a little younger (two years) but Prescott, despite his broken and dislocated ankle injury last season, still probably projects as more durable overall.

So let's get to the point of all of this, for goodness sakes . . .

The Bears should sign longtime backup and occasionally stellar starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (he of sporadic "Fitzmagic" fame, most recently for the Dolphins) and maybe spend a little extra time evaluating quarterback options in this year's draft with an eye on grabbing a developmental QB in any round other than the first.

We don't have a whole lot of optimism about what Pace, the guy who paid Mike Glennon $18 million after all, will do this time around in the free agent quarterback market. But that doesn't mean he can't stumble into the best possible solution. Stranger things have happened!

You can sign the 38-year-old Fitzpatrick at a bargain rate, especially given the fact you would be offering him a great chance to start all season. He has been around for a long time but he hasn't taken as much punishment as many of his peers, given his having spent so much time as a backup.

Then in the draft you use that first-round pick on the best offensive lineman available who has played at least some tackle. If there is a run on such players before the 20th pick, trade down and get one in the second round and improve your overall draft inventory. Again, stranger things than Pace finding a quality tackle in the second round have happened! They have!

With Fitzpatrick and Foles good to go as the starter and backup, whichever young quarterback you draft will only play in his first year if there is a disaster (both veterans get hurt). A full year of preparation is a very good thing for a quarterback prospect for gosh sakes. Even Patrick Mahomes took advantage of one.

Then you use the savings from employing Fitzpatrick rather than someone more expensive to sign Allen Robinson to a big, fair, absolute No. 1 wide receiver deal. On second thought, this probably makes way to much sense for Pace to do it.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments

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Posted on Oct 22, 2021