Updated: Mar 1, 2022
Sixth-year veteran quarterback said he's in a good place after one year playing backup to Josh Allen
BUFFALO N.Y, (2/25/2022) - Quarterback Mitch Trubisky had a chance to start over with the Buffalo Bills, after his four years with the Chicago Bears. Now in the offseason, he feels ready to start under center for any team in need of a quarterback.
The Bears selected Trubisky out of the University of North Carolina with the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He became the highest selected QB in that draft, ahead of Clemson's Desaun Watson and Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes.
Watson and Mahomes went on to have success in their careers with the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs respectively. Trubisky on the other hand,never lived up to the hype Bears fans had when the team selected him.
The Bears never had a quarterback that fans considered elite. Jim McMahon played single caller during the Bears Super Bowl winning season in 1985. Since then, the team struggled with drafting someone to call their franchise starter.
In 2009, the Bears traded for Denver Broncos pro bowler QB Jay Cutler. A year later, Cutler led the Bears to an NFC North division title and an NFC Championship game appearance. However, his stats declined after that year and he eventually left the Bears after 2016.
Trubisky finished his rookie season with a 4-8 record, seven touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Like Cutler, Trubinsky took a step forward in his second year.
After the 2018 hiring of head coach Matt Naggy and the acquisition of wide receiver Allen Robinson, Trubisky threw for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He made the pro bowl and led the Bears to another NFC North title. However, problems with accuracy, footwork, reading zone coverage led to inconsistent performances in 2019.
Trubisky's problems hadn't gone away for the Bears, so Ryan Pace, the then team general manager decided to trade for Nick Foles, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and Super Bowl MVP. Pace also declined a fifth-year option to Trubinsky's contract.
Trubisky opened the 2020 season as the starter but after trailing the Atlanta Falcons in week three 26-10 in the third, the Bears benched him for Foles, who led a 16-point comeback and a 30-26 win. Foles himself struggled as starter before injuring his hip in week 10 against the Minnesota Vikings. Trubinsky returned after the team's bye week and even looked good in the final six games of the season, throwing for 1495 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.
He led the Bears to another wild-card berth against the New Orleans Saints but lost 21-9. Despite breaking the franchise record for career passer rating (87.2) and career completion percentage (64%), the team concluded Trubinsky won't be the future of their franchise.
On March 18, 2021, Trubisky signed a one-deal with the Bills worth $2.5 million. In a preseason game against the Bears, he threw for 221 yards, one touchdown and completed 71.4% of his passes in the Bills 45-15 win.
During the regular season, Trubisky appeared for garbage time. He appeared in week three against the Washington Football Team and in week four against Houston. In that game, he ran for a four-yard rushing touchdown to add to the Bills 40-0 victory over the Texans.
Even though Trubisky played minimal time with the Bills, he got the chance to improve his game from one of the league's best in Josh Allen.
“When guys are playing free, you can be at your best,” Trubisky said. “I wanted to learn how [the Bills] helped Josh, and I saw that firsthand.”
In an ESPN article by Jeremy Fowler, Allen and safety Jordan Poyer pointed out the improvement the former Bears QB made during his time with the Bills.
"The dude is an athlete. I don't think people really understand that," said Allen. "See it, do it, we trust you.' He's going to kill it."
Poyer said after watching him layer over-route passes out of a defensive backs' range in practice, he has full confidence the Bills backup should start.
"One thousand percent," Poyer said.
In that same article, Bills general manager Brandon Beane also said Trubinsky should get another shot at starter after seeing him working with Allen.
"One thing Josh showed [Trubisky] is it's OK to freelance a little bit, use your athleticism and instincts," said Beane. "I think he will take that with him."
Trubisky enters free agency on March 17. ESPN pointed out teams that desperately need a quarterback like the New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Washington Commanders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He could also compete for a starting job for teams like the Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans and New York Giants. Even if Trubinsky remains unsigned after the season, Beane said the sixth-year quarterback can come back if we wants to.
However, Fowler spoke with an NFL-exec, who said any team that signs Trubisky will more likely pair him with a rookie quarterback to fight for the starting job.
I could see (Trubisky) going to a situation where he can be a starting option and the team drafts a quarterback,” an AFC exec said. “He’ll have to go out there and earn it, but there’s certainly enough there where the right offense can accommodate him. The offense in Chicago was pretty rigid and on-script, and I’m not sure it suited him
Whether another team signs Trubiksy or he returns to the Bills in the 2022 offseason, the former bears starter feels ready to get behind center again. In an interview with Fowler, Trubkisky said his time with the Bills gave him motivation and confidence to keep going.
“I’m in a confident space right now," said Trubisky. “After being in Chicago for four years, there was only one way I knew how to do things. [Being] in Buffalo and [having] a different way of doing things, you learn what’s possible. It helped me get back to instinctual football and using my talents rather than overthinking.”