The Bears overpaying Mike Glennon is nothing like the Texans whiffing on Brock Osweiler

March 9, 2017

It seems like ages ago that the Chicago Bears were any good. They’ve made the playoffs once since their Super Bowl appearance in 2006, finishing last in the NFC North each of the past three years.

The main reason for that? They haven’t had a true franchise quarterback. Rex Grossman wasn’t one, despite reaching the Super Bowl. Kyle Orton was barely good enough to start, failing to hold the job for an extended period of time. And then there’s Jay Cutler, who’s bound to be released by the Bears any day now.

With Cutler on his way out, the Bears are gearing up to replace him with … wait for it … Mike Glennon – former backup of Jameis Winston.

According to ESPN, the Bears will pay Glennon $45 million over three years with $19 million guaranteed. Yes, that’s a lot of money. And yes, they (probably) overpaid for him. But you can exhale, Bears fans — it’s not that bad. He’s not the next Brock Osweiler.

When news hit early on that the Bears – presumably alone – were targeting Glennon, fans were outraged. When it was reported he would be paid north of $14 million per year, Chicago was essentially set ablaze on Twitter.

That’s understandable. Paying a guy who’s thrown 11 passes since 2015 $14 million a year is scary. He’s relatively unproven, was benched for Josh McCown in Tampa Bay and has a small track record of success in the NFL. Here are his career numbers: 5-13 record, 59.4 percent completion rate, 30 touchdown passes, 15 interceptions and a passer rating of 84.6.

They’re not terrible, but certainly not great. What they don’t warrant is the overwhelming outrage among fans at his signing. Take a second to compare what other quarterbacks are making across the NFL.

If Glennon does make $15 million when he eventually signs his contract with the Bears, it’ll be the 24th most expensive contract among quarterbacks in terms of average value per year. The overall value of $45 million? Just 18th in the NFL.

The most telling figure of Glennon’s contract is the guaranteed money. As Schefter reported, it’s expected to be $19 million. That’s next to nothing and essentially makes the contract a two-year deal, considering the Bears would likely be able to get out of it after two seasons.

Most, if not all, of that $19 million will likely be paid out in those first two years, with the lion’s share of that coming in Year 1. It’s similar to the way the Texans structured Brock Osweiler’s contract. Only, his deal was for $72 million over the course of four years with $37 million guaranteed.

That’s … a big difference, to say the least.

The Bears learned from Houston’s mistake, which handicapped the Texans financially for two years. Osweiler’s cap hit this season is $19 million, and it would cost the Texans $25 million to cut him. It’s unlikely the Bears will face that sort of penalty or cost with Glennon in Year 2 of his deal.

Signing Glennon isn’t going to put a massive dent in Chicago’s wallet. He isn’t going to get anyone in the front office fired the way Osweiler should have in Houston. Heck, he may not even be the starter in 2017, and that’d be perfectly fine.

The Bears are still going to draft a quarterback, either at No. 3 or in a later round. That rookie will compete with Glennon for the starting job, giving the Bears two decent – and relatively cheap – options at quarterback. That’s something the Texans didn’t do last offseason, essentially guaranteeing Osweiler the starting job without even meeting him in person.

Say the Bears do draft a quarterback at No. 3. Joey Bosa, last year’s third overall pick, makes an average of $6.4 million per year. Add that amount to Glennon’s annual salary and you get a number in the range of $21.5 million.

Yes, that’s a lot of money, but relative to the rest of the NFL, it’s not bad for two viable starters at the most important position in all of sports. Heck, nine quarterbacks alone make $21 million or more per year.

So while $45 million for an unproven starter seems crazy, don’t lose your mind over it. It’s really a two-year deal worth $19 million with the likelihood of a rookie quarterback competing with him for the starting job.

At best, he starts and plays well. At worst, he’s the most expensive backup quarterback in the NFL, which he was bound to be next season anyway.



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Timothy T. Ludwig | USA TODAY Spor

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