Jimmy Clausen going 23-of-39 for 181 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a Week 16 start versus the Detroit Lions did not convince ESPN NFL Insider Matt Williamson that Chicago is sufficiently protected at backup quarterback in the event Jay Cutler suffers an injury.
Williamson includes the Bears on a list of five teams that should consider trading for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon, who is now expendable after the Bucs invested the No. 1 overall pick in Jameis Winston.
The feeling in Tampa is that head coach Lovie Smith eventually names Winston his Week 1 starting quarterback, despite Glennon passing for 4,025 yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2013-14.
Williamson writes: “The Bears would love to be rid of Jay Cutler, but his contract won't allow that. A strong-armed quarterback is a must in the Windy City, and that's one of Glennon's biggest strengths. He'd be an immediate upgrade over Jimmy Clausen, the current No. 2, and could potentially take over for Cutler late this season if Cutler repeats his dreadful 2014 campaign. It's not far-fetched to think that if Glennon ends up in Chicago, he would enter 2016 as a clear starter.”
Interestingly, Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase called Clausen a “perfect fit” at the No. 2 spot, even though the Notre Dame product has only appeared in 17 games (11 starts) and thrown for 1,781 yards, five touchdowns and 10 interceptions (60.2 quarterback rating) since he entered the league in 2010.
“I feel like from what we saw on tape last year -- and I know it was limited, I know what we saw on tape was limited -- but he’s really grown as a player," Gase said in May. “And what we’re trying to put together right now, he was a great fit for that room. He and Jay have a great relationship. I felt like he’d be perfect for what we were trying to do offensively.”
History tells us the Bears better have a capable backup quarterback on the roster. Cutler has missed 14 games over the past five seasons, meaning Gase’s theory on Clausen is likely to be tested.