The Chicago Bears’ quarterback depth chart hanging inside Halas Hall lists only two names: Mike Glennon and Connor Shaw. You can’t run an offseason program/training camp with two quarterbacks, which is why the Bears reportedly plan to visit with veteran Mark Sanchez on Thursday. Signing Sanchez would not preclude the Bears from still drafting a quarterback, but what if the Bears strike out? What if they’re unable to draft any of the quarterbacks they like?
Today’s mailbag question centers on Chicago’s backup quarterback dilemma.
— Dave Madsen (@madsen_dave) March 22, 2017
Jeff Dickerson: Interesting question, Dave. I feel strongly that Kaepernick is a better all-around quarterback than Sanchez. However, in this specific instance, I’d take Sanchez over Kaepernick to be the Bears’ No. 2 -- if those were the only options available to me.
Let me explain why.
My issue with Kaepernick is strictly football related. You may not agree with Kaepernick’s decision to sit/kneel during the national anthem, but he’s donated an estimated $500,000 to charitable causes over the past 12 months. I believe Kaepernick intends to ultimately donate $1 million to these charities. That’s a ton of money, even for a professional football player. Now, Kaepernick's arrival -- anywhere in the NFL -- is bound to garner lots of national media attention because he’s a polarizing figure. The Bears don’t like controversial players. But teams will always put up with “distractions” if the player is elite. I think in the proper environment, Kaepernick can still be a successful professional starting quarterback.
However, I do not believe Chicago is a good fit for Kaepernick. Why? Because he completed 1 of 5 passes for 4 yards in slick conditions in a game at Soldier Field last December. Kaepernick had such a tough time gripping the football that the 49ers were forced to play Blaine Gabbert off the bench. California native Matt Barkley managed to complete 11 of 18 passes that afternoon. So, while the wet and unusual conditions at Soldier Field made gripping and throwing the football difficult, it was by no means impossible to do so. For Kaepernick, though, it seemed impossible. Chicago’s weather is unpredictable. So, the Bears can’t sign a quarterback that can’t grip the football in certain conditions. Kaepernick can tolerate cold weather -- that’s been proven -- but my concern is wet weather. If former 49ers coach Chip Kelly felt Kaepernick could’ve handled those conditions better, he would’ve called for more than five passes before making the switch to Gabbert.
Of course, there’s a financial component, too. Kaepernick made starters’ money in San Francisco, whereas Sanchez has been paid like a backup for several years. Signing Sanchez -- if that happens -- is far simpler from a contractual standpoint.
But it mostly boils down to Kaepernick’s issues when the football is cold and wet. That’s why Chicago, for him, is probably a non-starter.