Who’s going to be the Bears quarterback next season?
It feels kind of weird focusing on next year so soon, after only eight games. It reminds me of my childhood, when Cade McNown, Curtis Enis, or Shane Mathews would be running the Bears into the ground on an annual basis. I would usually start focusing on next year after the first eight games back then too. But the last few years, the Bears have been pretty good, meaning I don’t have to scout college running backs or look for potential free agent defensive ends during the current season. At 3-5, the Bears could certainly still make the playoffs in the NFC, but let’s face it- this team sucks right now. They have all the pieces on defense (besides for safeties, which they desperately need), but need to figure out who’s going to be their quarterback and running back going forward. Here are some of the best bets to be the Bears opening day starting quarterback next season.
It’s a long shot the Bears would open 2008 with a rookie signal caller, but they could certainly select one with their first pick. Brian Brohm, Matt Ryan, and my guy Andre Woodson are three big time, senior prospects. The Bears might have too many other problems to use a first rounder on a quarterback, but Jerry Angelo might be tempted to make up for the Grossman debacle.
Chad Pennington- 15/1
With Kellen Clemens officially taking over this week, Pennington’s time in New York has likely come to an end. He could probably be had for cheap in a trade, or may even just be cut. Pennington is type of quarterback Ron Turner apparently covets- smart and accurate. The only problem is that he’s always going to have the same flaws, namely arm strength. I don’t want to see Pennington in a Bears uniform next season, but it might happen.
Byron Leftwich- 15/1
I loved Leftwich entering in the draft out of Marshall, and he’s better then people realize. The last time he was healthy, Leftwich threw 15 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions, with a QB Rating of 90. He’ll probably be a free agent after this year, and could sign for cheap if he gets a chance to start. That extra money could go to lots of other things, like, say, signing Lance Briggs.
Daunte Culpepper- 10/1
I don’t like this option either. While C-Pep has shown that he still has a little playmaking ability left in the tank this season with the Raiders, he’s too unreliable. He’s not nearly as mobile as he once was, and he’s a huge injury risk. With the Raiders clearing the way for Jamarcus Russell to start next season, Culpepper will surely be available, but it’s a chance the Bears might not want to take.
Derek Anderson- 8/1
Easily the most intriguing option on the list. The Browns didn’t waste TWO first round picks on Brady Quinn to sit him for two full seasons, so Anderson has to go, no matter how well he’s doing. This season, only Tom Brady has thrown more touchdown passes then Anderson. At 24, he’s certainly young enough, and he has prototypical size at 6’6, not to mention the ability to tuck it and run. The only problem is that if Anderson keeps this up, it’s going to take king’s ransom to get him. Would the Bears be willing to give up a second round draft pick for Anderson? That’s what it might come to.
Griese, Grossman, or Orton- 7/1
Best case scenario would be Grossman coming off the bench in December to take over and lead the Bears on a playoff tear. I must say, it looks pretty unlikely right now. Grossman will probably be sent packing at the end of the season, so this comes down to KO and the Grease-Man. If Griese continues to laying eggs (that term just makes me laugh), Orton will get a shot before the season ends. I think I’ve mentioned this before but here it does again: before his career is over Orton will make a Pro Bowl. I know, it sounds crazy, but I can see it happening for whatever reason. I’m not saying it’ll be with the Bears, but Orton does deserve a shot at least this season. Also, one of these guys has the best chance at starting if the Bears take a quarterback in the first round this year.
Donavon McNabb- 5/1
The dream scenario for Bears fans everywhere. We’ve been talking about it for years, and with every Eagles loss, there’s a better chance that McNabb could be headed to Chicago. He’d be this franchise first legitimate passer in forever, and in my opinion, would immediately make the Bears the favorites in the NFC. It might cost the Bears a first or second round pick, but Angelo should do it. McNabb is worth it.