Chicago Bears: Mike Glennon Has Talent, But Isn’t the Answer

March 9, 2017
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The Chicago Bears will sign quarterback Mike Glennon in free agency. Is this a move that can turn the franchise around, or a move that the team will soon regret?

To some fans’ dismay, the Chicago Bears have a new starting quarterback. Mike Glennon, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, reportedly has signed a three-year contract for $45 million, including $19 million guaranteed.

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It’s a bit of a head scratching move, as Glennon has not started a game since 2014. And since the 2015 season, has attempted a whopping 11 passes in the NFL. With his $15 million average yearly salary, Glennon averages only $1 million less per year than Andy Dalton, a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback who has led his Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs four times. However, Glennon’s guaranteed money isn’t too much, and the Bears did clear nearly $12 million in cap space by releasing Jay Cutler.

Glennon’s success in the NFL has been shaky at best. He has a career record of 5-13, yet he was hardly surrounded by impact talent his first two years in the league. A third-round pick in 2013, Glennon started 13 games in his rookie season, throwing for 2,608 yards and 19 touchdowns. In 2014, he started five games, but lost his starting job to Josh McCown midseason. Glennon has never been put in a great position, seeing that numerous offensive coordinators rotated in and out of the Buccaneers organization, but being benched in your second season is never a good sign.

Apparently, the Buccaneers didn’t see anything in Glennon that prevented them from drafting Jameis Winston with the first pick in the 2015 draft. The Bucs tried to trade Glennon several times, but there were no takers. As a result, the team allowed Glennon to walk in free agency.

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Glennon has some upside, as he is 6-7 and has a terrific arm. However, his lack of mobility is a concern, and he has struggled with accuracy. His career 59.4 percent completion rate in the NFL only raises this concern. Moreover, when he came out of college, accuracy was a big question mark. Glennon sometimes does not set his feet when he throws, causing the ball to float and miss its mark. Furthermore, Glennon’s 2-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio in the NFL isn’t great, and his decision making has been questioned at times.

So, are the Bears better off with Glennon under center than they would be if Jay Cutler was still in town? The answer to that question has to be no. The biggest thing that Glennon has going for him is the fact that he’s not Cutler. The Bears grew tired of Cutler over the past few years, and seeing anybody under center other than him is a welcomed sight.

With this being said, it’s clear that right now, Cutler is a better quarterback. First off, he’s made 20 starts since 2015, compared to Glennon’s number of zero. Second, Cutler has a higher completion percentage, yards per attempt, and quarterback rating. Cutler is much more athletic, is able to avoid sacks better, and has just as good of an arm as Glennon. So in the present, the Bears have taken a slight step back.

What the Bears are banking on, however, is Glennon’s potential. At just 27 years old, Glennon is just entering his prime, and with proper coaching, he could improve dramatically. The physical tools are there, but they just need refining. Dowell Loggains did do an impressive job squeezing as much as he did from Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley last season, and he was the quarterbacks coach in 2015 when Cutler had one of his better years, so maybe he’ll be able to take Glennon to the next level.

Signing Glennon does not mean the Bears shouldn’t take a quarterback in the early rounds of the draft, as having a young developing quarterback on the roster is a must. Essentially, Glennon is a stop-gap. If he plays poorly, the contract is constructed in such a way that cutting ties with him wouldn’t be too costly; if he plays well, it’s an extra bonus.

Next: Chicago Bears: What Does the Offense Need?

The bottom line is this: the Bears overpaid for Glennon, but in today’s NFL, that’s the price for starting quarterbacks now. Getting overly excited about a player who has thrown 11 passes in the past two seasons is hard, and it seems like re-signing Brian Hoyer for less money could have been a smarter move.

I hope I’m proved wrong, but I don’t think Glennon is the long-term answer at quarterback. He’s unproven, and the film he’s produced in his four seasons in the league hasn’t been overwhelming. He has a good arm, but so does Jay Cutler and several other underperforming quarterbacks. I’m hoping for the best, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

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