This is a largely a good week for Mitchell Trubisky, who is enjoying the praise coming his way after engineering the Bears’ drive to a game-winning field goal in Denver. But he must know a handful of plays doesn’t erase his inconsistent play over the last two weeks.
Trubisky and the Bears’ offense aren’t building off the momentum they created by making enough plays to complement a great defense last season. As usual, it’s the quarterback who is most open for critique, especially since he is moving toward a contract that could pay him more than $30 million a year.
This is the third season for Trubisky, who was selected ahead of Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft. After a 16-14 win over the Broncos and a 10-3 loss to the Packers, Trubisky ranks 38th among 40 quarterbacks with a 65.0 rating. He’s thrown for 348 yards and no touchdowns, with one interception.
Trubisky is 28th in total quarterback rating, as compiled by ESPN. That’s perhaps more damning than the traditional rating because he was third in total QB rating last season, behind only Mahomes and Drew Brees, when his 95.4 quarterback rating ranked 17th among those who threw at least 100 passes.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy doesn’t mince words about the struggling offense.
“For us, our own expectation is not to be 31st in the NFL in offense right now, I can tell you that,” Nagy told reporters on Monday. “And that comes down to scoring, right? We know we need to be better. As the season goes on, we have an amount of trust in ourselves that we as coaches and we as an offense will get going here. We feel really good that when we do get this going, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Trubisky needs to shake off the slow start on Monday, when the Washington Redskins come to Soldier Field. It’s a time of fat contracts for quarterbacks, and Trubisky ended 2018 headed toward a contract extension along the lines of those that have been commonplace since the Raiders agreed to give Derek Carr a five-year, $125-million deal after the 2017 season.
Six quarterbacks currently have deals that pay them $30-million plus, with the Rams’ Jared Goff the latest to reach that level. He signed a four-year, $134-million deal (with $110 million guaranteed) earlier this month.
Under the terms of his original deal, Trubisky is a bargain for the Bears. He costs them a salary cap hit of $7.9 million this year, which will grow only to $9.2 million in 2020. But then it will get really tricky for the Bears.
Trubisky can be retained for a fifth-year option in 2021 but it figures to cost the team at least $31.6 million, as that’s the average of the 10 highest quarterback contracts. The likelihood is he’ll be extended before he reaches that point but the onus is on him to perform better than he has in the last two games.