The Carson Wentz trade rumors continue to circulate as the Philadelphia Eagles do everything they can to get as good of a deal as possible for their former franchise quarterback. So far, not so good on that front. The Eagles reportedly want at least a first-round pick for his services but have yet to be offered one. Ron Jawrowski says Philly has been offered a pair of second-rounders by the Indianapolis Colts, which may end up being the best deal on the table.
The Chicago Bears were the other team most heavily linked to Wentz when trade talks began a few weeks ago. They appeared to have listened to The Big Lead's advice (so far) and haven't risen to the reported requested price of two-first round picks from Super Bowl weekend. Still, the lack of traction in trade talks combined with the beginning of the offseason means all NFL fans have to talk about are possibilities and hypotheticals.
ESPN did so today. Bart Scott took advantage of his time in the Get Up spotlight and made a bold prediction: if the Bears do get Wentz, they are Super Bowl contenders.
If Chicago also believed this, then there would be no price too high to acquire Wentz. But seeing as the franchise has not offered whatever Philly has asked for the quarterback, the Bears do not agree with Scott, and neither do I.
Bears QB coach John DeFilippo could fix the decision-making issues that came to a head for Wentz in 2020. It is difficult for any of us who haven't been under center for a professional football team to nail down how big of a project that would be and what DeFilippo's chances of success are. But we can look at the other reasons Wentz struggled in Philadelphia last year and compare them to Chicago's to see just how much better of a position he would be in to succeed.
First, the offensive line for the Eagles was awful last season. Wentz can take the blame for a sack here and there because he missed a read and didn't get the ball out in time, but Philadelphia had to shuffle the line nearly every week due to injury and lost their three best linemen to the IR before the season even began. The Bears' line was not much better last season and didn't have the rash of injuries to deal with. Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles were sacked a combined 36 times in 2020, the eighth-highest number of sacks given up by any team in the league.
The first key for success for any QB in the NFL is to have enough time to make reads and throw the ball. Wentz didn't have that last year and he wouldn't have it in Chicago. That brings us to the second issue that plagued Wentz and Philadelphia last year: the receiving corps. Thanks to a combination of injury, missed draft picks, and general decline, Wentz didn't have any real talent at receiver to throw to last season. Travis Fulgham led all Eagles wideouts with 539 yards last season as a former sixth-round draft pick. Dallas Goedert had 511 yards in 11 games. Greg Ward was the only Philly receiver to play every game and the former undrafted pass-catcher totaled 419 yards.
Chicago doesn't offer much improvement in that area, either. Allen Robinson was far and away their best receiver last season and will more than likely not be returning to the team as an unrestricted free agent this season. Other than him, there's Darnell Mooney (631 yards in 2020) and Anthony Miller (485 yards). Head coach Matt Nagy has been exposed as a good but not great offensive play-caller over the last few years, so he can't just scheme away the lack of depth there.
Acquiring Wentz would obviously be only the first move of many this offseason to revitalize the offense. But the Bears are just over what the cap is projected to be when the new league year begins in March. They can't go out and spend big money on Kenny Golladay or Chris Godwin. This year's draft is very receiver-heavy and at this point the Bears would probably keep their best picks in a Wentz trade. But look only to Philadelphia as a warning for how tricky relying on rookie wideouts to succeed immediately can be.
Yes, Chicago's defense is certainly championship-worthy with the talent they have at all three levels. But they would need more than an upgrade at quarterback to be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders. The Bears would certainly be better with Wentz than Foles/Trubisky, but they wouldn't rocket to the top of the power rankings. They need a complete offensive overhaul (excluding David Montgomery, who both loves Chicago and is a stud) before they could reasonably compete for a ring.