Some Chicago Bears fans may think this is a hot take, but the fact remains Mitchell Trubisky had a tough road toward success in Chicago.
The former No. 2 overall pick showed up with unfair sky-high expectations, thanks to GM Ryan Pace, and had the team in the playoffs his second year in the NFL.
But the offense could just never get on track under Matt Nagy and Trubisky absorbed most of the blame.
The team declined his fifth-year option and he is now in his second NFL home with the Buffalo Bills.
The quarterback signed a one-year deal for just over $2 million and is in town to be the backup for Josh Allen, who just got paid a little more.
Being on a one-year deal sets up Trubisky as a trade candidate this year and someone who could go out and seek much more money in 2022.
Trubisky on signing with #Bills
"Nice to be in a place where people want you and care about you progressing as a person and a player."
— Thad Brown (@thadbrown7) August 10, 2021
A Specific Role To Fill
Trubisky is an extremely valuable player to NFL teams because of his 50 career starts in only four seasons.
He has personally faced NFL defenses and even has postseason experience.
If all goes well, he will find himself back as a starter at some point.
The No. 2 overall label points toward that reality coming true.
Mitch Trubisky on why he ultimately chose Buffalo and how he thinks things are going
"It's just really nice to be part of a great team and be somewhere where people want you here and they care about how you're progressing as a person and as a player" #BillsMafia @WKBW pic.twitter.com/diVZNdpxKO
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) August 10, 2021
But let’s say teams just want him as a backup.
Someone like Chase Daniel has made a long career, and a lot of money, in such a role.
NFL teams are desperate for veteran backups with experience and Trubisky is way ahead of the curve in that regard.
A more likely comparison, in terms of a role, may be Case Keenum.
That is, someone who ends up getting some notable money to be a starter, but never on a long-term deal.
Keenum signed a two-year, $36 million deal with the Denver Broncos in 2018 and more recently signed a three-year, $18 million deal with the Cleveland Browns to be Baker Mayfield‘s backup.
$18 million to stand on the sidelines sounds pretty nice and someone like Trubisky is on the trajectory to start receiving these types of deals.
Spending all of 2021 as a backup to Allen will only increase his intelligence as a backup.
A Trade Candidate
Trubisky stands out as a top trade candidate due to his expiring deal.
A team dealing with a surprise injury could always bring in Trubisky to finish the year and potentially prove himself as a long-term option.
He finds himself in the same camp as Marcus Mariota, as both former starters are now backups looking to lead a team again.
Assuming Trubisky plays in the preseason, just a competent showing will keep his potential value right where it is now.
While teams know he had his struggles, other coaches may believe they can do what Nagy could not.
Being a backup quarterback in the NFL is not the worst job, and Trubisky’s experience should mean he is well-traveled and well-paid by the time he reaches retirement.