Bears Abruptly Change Negotiating Tactics With Mitch Trubisky UPDATED

Mitch Trubisky.
Mitch Trubisky. / Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

UPDATE: Mitch Trubisky did not play well against the Saints, completing 19-of-29 passes for 199 yards with one touchdown pass in garbage time. The Bears lost to the Saints, 21-9. Javon Wims dropped an easy touchdown pass, which didn't help Trubisky's cause, but based on the report we discuss below, the Bears won't want him back. Or maybe they will based on the report from Week 16. It's all insane. Full details below.

Remember when the Bears were considering re-signing Mitch Trubisky this offseason following his strong finish to the regular season? What a difference 14 days makes, huh.

Exactly two weeks after Adam Schefter reported the Bears were rethinking re-signing Trubisky if he continued to play well and the Bears made the playoffs, Ian Rapoport reports today that Trubisky has a lot to prove in order for that idea to become reality.

This line really stood out to me.

"He's had his moments, but from what I understand, there's nothing certain. The Bears are not set right now on bringing him back. Perhaps, Rich (Eisen), if he wins and keeps winning he can change their mind. But still, a lot of work to do for Trubisky."

This is negotiation 101. First, the Bears hype up Trubisky in the regular season to build his confidence and, hopefully, inspire him to lead them to the playoffs. Then, when he accomplishes that, they knock him down to build leverage at the contract negotiation table.

Just another reason Trubisky should not re-sign with them.

No offense to the line of thinking Rapoport presents, but what are the Bears going to learn about Trubisky in the playoffs they haven't learned in the last four years? He's facing the Saints this week in New Orleans. They allow the fourth-fewest points per game in the NFL and the fifth-fewest passing yards. The Bears are double-digit underdogs. So if he fails against them he's not the same quarterback who's gone 25-13 as a starter the last three years?

Rapoport also mentions Trubisky's uninspiring game against the Packers last week when he threw for zero touchdowns, one interception, and only 252 yards. Well, that came against the No. 13 scoring defense and No. 7 passing defense. Outside of that game, he threw 10 TDs against 4 INTs since being reinstated as the starter in Week 12. Not to mention leading the Bears to a playoff appearance.

Trubisky remains who he's always been. He's streaky. He can put up big numbers occasionally, and usually against lesser competition, but it's not sustainable. He's not elite, nor will he ever be. He's a game-manager who sometimes wins you a game and sometimes loses it. The Bears don't need another playoff game to know that. Or if they do, their talent evaluators need to be as closely inspected as Trubisky.

The timing of this report is interesting because the Bears are expected to get manhandled by the Saints in their Wild Card game. Their No. 1 priority in the offseason is sorting out their quarterback situation. It appears they want a discount from Trubisky and this is the first step in laying that expectational groundwork. It wasn't the same message in Week 16, but hey, anything to save a few bucks, right?