Opinion: With trade for QB Nick Foles, Chicago Bears seal panicked offseason of missed opportunities

Some NFL teams made big, bold moves this offseason. Others were strategic, shoring up holes so they can be playoff contenders or extend their postseason runs. Still others were clearly eyeing the future, stockpiling picks.

Then there are the Chicago Bears, whose moves can only be characterized as panicked and not very imaginative.

The Bears finally acknowledged reality Wednesday, acquiring legitimate competition for Mitchell Trubisky by trading for Nick Foles. But considering that Teddy Bridgewater was available, Chicago could have, and should have, done better.

Foles is, by all accounts, a tremendous person. He’s beloved by teammates and a steadying presence in the locker room. He’s also a good mentor, having worked with Carson Wentz in Philadelphia.

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But Foles is, well, Foles. Those five games leading the Eagles to the title in 2017 aside, he’s not a game-changer. And he’s not likely to be a long-term option, either, restructuring his contract so he can void it after either of the first two years, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Maybe general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy really do believe Trubisky, the former No. 2 overall pick, is still Chicago’s quarterback of the future, but they’re the only ones.

Which means the Bears are just kicking the can down the road on their quarterback problem. And given that Pace is the genius who picked Trubisky over Deshaun Watson and that Super Bowl MVP in Kansas City, I’m not sure you want him getting another crack at this.

This wouldn’t matter if the Bears had a robust running game or such dazzling receivers that anyone who can throw a ball would be sufficient. But they do not. Nagy had such little confidence in the run game last season that it was more of a rumor than anything, and Chicago has done nothing to upgrade it.

Nor did the Bears appear to make a play for DeAndre Hopkins. And they don’t seem to be interested in Emmanuel Sanders.

The Bears did pick up tight end Jimmy Graham. Why, I’m not sure, given what a non-factor he was in Green Bay the last two seasons. At least it was only a two-year deal, with $9 million guaranteed.

But everything the Bears do leaves the overarching question of why? What is the team’s plan going forward? Are they going to draft a quarterback next month, or whenever the draft is, and cross their fingers that he’s the one? Hope one falls out of the sky in the next season or two?

Yes, the Bears defense is still ferocious. Even if it took a slight drop last year, it still is good enough to forgive a lot of sins by the offense. Khalil Mack is still one of the most dominant defensive players in the league and Pace gave him some help by signing Robert Quinn to a five-year, $70 million deal.

While he’s an upgrade over former first-round pick Leonard Floyd, it’s worth noting that Quinn’s big year in Dallas last year – 11½ sacks, 13 tackles for loss – was preceded by several mediocre ones.

The window on this defense is closing, however, and what then? You can only live on the Mack signing for so long. Or maybe Pace, who has already switched coaches once and quarterbacks now twice, doesn’t expect to be around much longer and figures he’ll leave the headache for the next guy.

The Bears insisted that last year’s mediocrity and ineptitude was an aberration. Given their moves in free agency, this season is sure looking like more of the same. 

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour

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