What if I told you that Arlington Heights native Jimmy Garoppolo could have been a Chicago Bear.
- Would that have changed the outcome of the season?
- Would the Bears be better off?
- Would they be worse?
With this week’s matchup against the 49ers and Garoppolo making his first start of the season against his hometown team I wondered, “What would have this season been like if the Bears acquired Garoppolo in the offseason?”
Let’s just ponder, analyze and embrace the idea.
Let’s say the Bears offered up just their No. 3 overall pick to the Patriots and they accepted it. I mean the Bears did trade the No. 3 overall pick, a third-round pick (No. 67), one of their fourth-round picks (No. 111) and a 2018 third-round pick to the 49ers to move up one spot to select Mitch Trubisky.
Trading for Garoppolo still means the Bears get their franchise quarterback, who isn’t a rookie, and it’s a better deal. The Bears wouldn’t have given up additional picks and this is what the draft order would have looked like going into the draft:
· Round 1 (3) – (Trade to Patriots)
· Round 2 (36)
· Round 3 (67)
· Round 4 (111)
· Round 4 (117)
· Round 5 (147)
· Round 7 (221)
Adam Shaheen was selected in the second round (No. 45), Eddie Jackson in the fourth (No.112), Tarik Cohen also in the fourth (No.119) and Jordan Morgan in the fifth round (No. 147).
More than likely the Bears would have been able to select all their current picks and had two more.
If the Bears still had their third-round pick there were some receivers, something the team desperately needs, still on the board. With the 67th pick the Bears could have chosen the Rams’ Cooper Kupp (No. 69 pick), Bucs’ Chris Godwin (No. 84), or Lions’ Kenny Golladay (No. 96). All would be getting playing time if one of them were on the roster.
With a team that only has 12 wins to date since John Fox took over as head coach, it seems there are more questions than answers as to how to get the organization back to relevancy. But having two more picks in the 2017 NFL Draft could have helped address some of those questions.
Not only would the Bears have benefitted in the draft but they also would have their day-one starter.
You know what that means?
No. Mike. Glennon.
Glennon signed a 3-year, $45 million-dollar contract with $18.5 million guaranteed. Glennon was the most expensive free agent for the Bears and that guaranteed money could have been put to good use elsewhere. Maybe that money could have gone to a 1-year deal with Alshon Jeffery? The Eagles signed Jeffery to a 1-year, $9.5 million dollar deal with $8.75 million guaranteed.
But, who knows?
Moving along to training camp, the entire focus would have revolved around preparing Garoppolo to start against the Falcons. There wouldn’t have been a quarterback controversy, a dilemma of how to split the No. 1 quarterback reps or fans questioning whether the Bears had any idea of how to manage a team (that probably would have happened still), but instead, consistent preparation for Garoppolo would have been the main priority.
The devotion to Garoppolo over the summer would have allowed him to become more familiar with the offense, rather than learning an NFL offense for the first time like Trubisky. The preseason also would have looked a lot different than it did, with Garoppolo getting a majority of the playing time, further developing the chemistry with the entire offensive unit.
And heading into the regular season, instead of watching Glennon for four games, who was more robotic than human with his playing style, Garoppolo could have had his shot against the Falcons, Bucs, Steelers and Packers.
Even though nobody knows what would have happened in those four games, I’m willing to bet most Bears fans would have taken Garoppolo, who threw for 502 yards and four touchdowns in two wins last season for the Patriots, over Glennon to start the season, any day.
And just to throw this out there, I think the Bears would have had a better record with Garoppolo. Not by much, but with close losses against the Falcons, Lions and Saints, you have to wonder if those become close victories with Garoppolo. Still, he doesn’t make the Bears a playoff team because he would have been hindered by this inept coaching staff and the vast amount of injuries sustained throughout the season.
But with all the what ifs, coulds and woulds aside, the Bears are 3-8. Again, at the bottom of the NFC North after another gut-wrenching season.
However, the Bears do have some “winnable” games against the 49ers, Bengals, Lions and Browns left on their schedule and it starts this Sunday. But with Garoppolo, this matchup against the 49ers becomes more difficult.
I anticipate that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan lets Garoppolo loose (unlike Fox with Trubisky) and he shreds this Bears’ defense.
But if Garoppolo out plays Trubisky, which could definitely happen, fans shouldn’t have any doubts if the Bears made the wrong decision. The main reason being that nobody knows if there was any possibility of getting Garappolo in the first place. Also, unlike Trubisky, Garoppolo was a four-year starter at Eastern Illinois, is a four-year veteran in the NFL and has played for one of the best head coaches in NFL history, Bill Belichick. Oh, and he also has a Super Bowl ring.
So regardless of Sunday’s outcome fans should have a clear mind about their quarterback.
But man, you have to wonder what a Bears’ No. 10 jersey would have looked like with Garoppolo on the back of it.