I’m not a capologist. Nor would I say I completely understand the nuances of NFL talent and drafting. I like football; and even think I could get competent in those aspects quickly. So, Bear with me so to speak.
The Bears hired Ryan Pace, a young 37-yr old to revamp the Monsters back to relevancy. Everyone knows these things about the Bears in 2014:
1) They got torched on defense as the old-timers like Briggs, Tillman, Allen and Co. were irrelevant, injured, or ineffective. I stopped watching at halftime at most games…it was cringe-worthy.
2) The ongoing travails of one Jay Cutler led to a benching. His decision-making skills continue to suffer; the golden arm guy has yet to get the Bears back to the promised land. Even the 2006 Bears, without a real gunner, but with a crack defense, got to the Super Bowl. The Bears are desperate for another showing….30 years now since Walter Payton, a punky QB, and the 46 Defense buried the old guard Patriots like Brits at the end of the Revolutionary War.
So on to options. Bears have 6 current picks, 7th overall in each round, aside from round 5, where Denver picks. They can only likely succeed through the draft, going forward. No team can really get better without landing great star(s) in the draft. So, 6 shots in this year really doesn’t do much for a 2015 rebuild. Cutler doesn’t have much value – if you feel he’s over his head. Yet, he did succeed (sort of) in Denver. Enough to get a traded to Chicago…
Now, I know Denver isn’t thrilled with him, as a city. Yet, they aren’t gonna get far given Peyton Manning no longer has that “it”. He’s really pushing 40. And well, he’s done the best he can to stave off age. But he’s ready for his next position: teacher and trainer of QBs.
However, Denver is a “win now” team. With an older team requires a QB to get them close. And well, the Bears have that available, if some can swallow their pride, suck up their loss today, and take another shot with a guy they thought once was the franchise QB.
Peyton comes with a hefty price tag – $21.5M cap hit in 2015 – while Cutler’s cap hit is at $16.5M in 2015. So it’s not quite equal. Yet, it sorta is. To equal this out requires a draft pick swap to give equal hopes to both. Denver would never part with a 1st or 2nd rounder, just because. The Bears can’t really afford to carry Peyton, yet, they could do worse.
Option 1: Bears get Peyton Manning, a 2015 5th round pick and a conditional 2016 pick based on the finish of Cutler’s or Denver’s season (playoffs). Better they do, the higher the pick (1st round if they win the Super Bowl, for example. A 2nd round-AFC champion, etc.)
From there, the Bears have to sell a plan to land a QB for the future, but not in 2015. Peyton could be the old man that can get a smart FA QB up to mediocre/par, or he can be the 1st string man until he can’t – figure by late 2015, you can cut him, and ask him if he’d like to be an advisor/coordinator for 2016. (In any case, don’t let that brain go too far. Sell him into that position. Maybe create a new position – OC/player. It’s time to get creative….)
The teams ahead of them, can take shots on certain QBs, Super Mario or Bad-boy Winston. The Bears need to find that key defensive player (MLB, DE, CB) instead. Sure, I’d like to think they could move up to capture Mario, but it isn’t likely. The trade values are too large.
I’m not saying this will win the Bears more games. In fact, it likely will be a 4-12 season at best. But it gives them a season to sort out the shuffle, get a higher pick, and put a different mentality in place. A mentor in Manning, if he wants to stay relevant. (But he might not want to do it for the Bears…)
Meanwhile, it could win more games for Denver. That’s important for the Bears if that is a plausible contract structure. (I don’t know – the CBA lays out limitations in conditional draft pick swaps.) But it gives the Bears more picks in 2016…a better way to rebuild, if you get higher picks great. Or find a FA QB that can finally put some of Manning’s brain in their bodies.
Denver isn’t hurt either. They get some QB play for 2-3 seasons likely. At a cheaper rate…and still can fix their future.
Return to sender, if you can, Mr. Pace.