The Chicago Bears have reportedly declined quarterback Mitch Trubisky's fifth-year option, which is seen as a step toward cutting ties with the former No. 2 overall draft pick.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported this weekend that the Bears declined Trubisky's option for the 2021 season, sending him into what will likely be a final season and a quarterback competition with the newly acquired Nick Foles, who came via a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
As the ESPN report noted, Trubisky struggled last season, finishing 28th in total QBR (39.4), 21st in passing yards (3,138), and 32nd in yards gained per pass attempt (6.1). The former No. 2 pick — taken before DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 NFL Draft — has struggled after leading the Bears to a 12-4 record in 2018, leading to growing rumors that the Bears are ready to move on.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace has already said that Trubisky will not be guaranteed the starting job, bringing in the veteran Foles to compete for the starting job this season.
"We've increased competition at a critical position and we talked to both players, and the way we view this is it's an open competition," Pace said back in April, noting that it was a credit both to Trubisky and Foles for embracing the situation.
The New York Post's Zach Braziller believed that the decision to decline the fifth-year option is the first step toward a clean break between Trubisky and the Bears. He noted that both Mahomes and Watson have outplayed Trubisky and that the Bears reached a bit too much in trading up to the second pick to snag him."Trubisky, who had just one strong year in college at North Carolina, probably never should've been taken so high in the first place," he wrote. "Watson had the far better college career, leading Clemson to back-to-back national championship game appearances and shredding Alabama in both instances."
But the open quarterback competition could still give Trubisky another chance to prove himself and potentially move toward a big free agency payday, SI.com's Gene Chamberlain noted. But he also added that the move makes sense for the Bears given both Trubisky's performance and the fact that he has had a pair of serious shoulder injuries, which raise some questions for his long-term viability.
"In this case the Bears already have a viable alternative to Trubisky in place, so it only makes sense to take this action," Chamberlain wrote. "It communicates the simple message that, to borrow a line from The Godfather, it's not personal, it's only business."