“What the hell are they doing?”
That isn’t a quote from any one specific person; that’s paraphrasing the reaction of the millions of people who followed the NFL Draft last night, after the Chicago Bears traded all of King Midas’ gold to move up from third overall to second and grab Mitchell Trubisky. That one insane trade threw the draft into disarray, and it has yet to recover.
In the moment, it was a difficult move to understand. A day later … it’s still a difficult move to understand. But I’m a Bears fan, and I intend to rationalize this absurd move as best as I can. So follow along as I try to make sense of the draft’s biggest move using the only tool I know, numbers!
The Numbers on the Bears’ Trubisky Trade
106 – That was the additional pick the Bears had to throw in to move from 11th to 9th last year and draft Leonard Floyd, a player neither team in front of them had any interest in. This year’s shift cost them the 67th and 111th-overall picks and a future third-round pick (which is destined to be on the higher end).
The massive change in price shows one of two things: either the NFL has inflation rates rivaling South Sudan, or Ryan Pace is not a skilled negotiator. Considering the returns he got on Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett, I’m leaning towards the latter.
2 – The number of times Pace traded back in the second round in 2016, gaining the 117th and 124th-overall picks, as well as the 117th pick in this draft. So if Chicago fans are distressed about a sudden lack of picks, at least know that there’s a precedent of Pace recouping those losses. Hey, maybe he’s a skilled negotiator after all?
[Remembers Mike Glennon’s contract.] Never mind!
0 – That’s the number of pre-draft visits Chicago had with Trubisky. That’s concerning. How can you be in love with a prospect that you’ve barely talked to? Love (or at least how it’s been explained to me) is a deep connection that enriches both parties. What Pace feels for Trubisky is infatuation: he locked eyes with the hot quarterback from across the room and was immediately willing to do whatever it took to win him over.
If this were a 90s rom-com, the trade would work out 100-percent of the time. But because it’s real life, sometimes that person you lock eyes with ends up being a vegan, or an Instagram personality. Life doesn’t have the same success rate.
88 – That’s how many days John Lynch has been an NFL GM. Yet he managed to squeeze Pace in a bidding war against Cleveland. Worst of all, the notion of the Browns trading up may have been an illusion; after weeks of speculation, I’ve yet to see any leaks of the package that Cleveland actually offered for no. 2.
Pace may have more experience than Lynch, but he’s still the youngest general manager in the NFL, and for now, it looks like he got big-brothered here.
13 – No, it’s not in reference to the number of starts Trubisky had in his college career, a number many bring up as a sure sign he’s not ready for the next level. That is the number of years it had been since the Bears took a quarterback in the top three rounds of the draft.
When you go so long without addressing that need, pressure builds up, and sometimes release happens earlier than expected. Look at the Chiefs; they went 34 years without drafting a QB in the first round, and they excitedly came up from 27th to 10th to take Patrick Mahomes. Moving up 17 spots cost them a third rounder (91st-overall) and a first rounder next year. Are you taking notes, Pace?
14 — The number of different Week 1 starting safeties the Bears have had over the last ten years. Though less publicized than their struggles at quarterback, Chicago has had a terrible time finding productive players on the back end ever since Mike Brown’s legs started giving out in 2004.
Staying at no. 3 would’ve allowed the Bears to get a playmaker like Jamal Adams at safety, and given a budding defense a chance to be special this year. Without addressing that position (so far), it looks like Pace will be relying on picks from previous drafts. Hopefully he hit it out of the park with Deon Bush or Deandre Houston-Carson last year.
9 — That’s how many wins the Bears have under John Fox entering the third season of his four-year deal. If that number doesn’t see a significant bump this year, it’s hard to imagine Fox will get to finish out that contract. So you have to wonder how much input he had on the Trubisky decision.
Chicago’s built to win low-scoring games on the strength of defense and the run game. Drafting a quarterback doesn’t help that gameplan in the immediate future. The Bears had some historically bad injury luck last year, but better health won’t suddenly make them an 8-8 team. Fox is going to have to coach his ass off to save his job this year.
18.5 million — The amount of guaranteed money the Bears gave to Mike Glennon, for what will likely amount to less than a full season of starting.
5 — That’s the week I expect Trubisky to become the Bears starter. It’s hard to keep a second-overall pick on the bench for an entire season; remember how that was the plan for Carson Wentz? Then he somehow ended up as the Week 1 starter. There was already going to be a ton of pressure on Trubisky to start if the Bears took him at three. This trade just multiplied that.
In case you haven’t seen Chicago’s schedule, it projects pretty nicely as an 0-4 start. Then, after that fourth loss, there’s an 11-day break until the Bears play the Vikings at home. It’s an ideal time to make an early switch.
38-percent — The current approval rating of the pick on a Twitter poll conducted by Bears beat writer Brad Biggs.
100-percent — How excited I am to have a quarterback of the future.
What can I say? This is how fandom works. It’s stupid. I hate everything about the deal, and how the Bears conducted themselves during the draft. And yet, I’m gonna love the crap out of Mitch Trubisky. How can I not? He’s very relatable.