When the Chicago Bears entered the 2017 offseason in search of the next great NFL quarterback, most thought they would wait until the upcoming draft to take a chance on someone under center. Instead, the Bears opted to put all their eggs in one basket for a quarterback in Mike Glennon who has a grand total of five wins in the last four seasons; effectively a hard pass on this year’s incredibly talented draft class:
Despite his lack of actual production on the football field, Chicago still felt he was worth the three-year, $45 million contract ($18.5 million guaranteed) the team recently signed him to. But what exactly persuaded the Bears to make such an unusual offer to a quarterback who has completed less than 60 percent of the passes he has thrown in his NFL career?
“Glennon’s best attribute — and the one that may have convinced Chicago to sign him instead of someone like Ryan Fitzpatrick — is that we haven’t seen him play for two years.”
Let’s start with his measurables, which likely played a big part in why he was selected in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Listed at 6-foot-7, 225 pounds, Glennon is taller than most quarterbacks in the league today including Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, Philip Rivers, and Joe Flacco.
The Bears’ new quarterback played his college ball at North Carolina State, where he helped the school to a 15-11 record from 2011 to 2012. During his senior season, Glennon passed for 4,031 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions.
After he was drafted by the Bucs in 2013, the quarterback found himself in the starting lineup just four weeks into his very first NFL season. Despite Tampa Bay losing all five of Glennon’s first five starts in 2013, the quarterback threw for 1,165 yards, eight touchdowns, and just three interceptions during these five games.
The rookie quarterback ended up leading the Bucs to a 4-4 record in the team’s final eight games of the season and Glennon’s future in the league seemed like it actually had some potential for success. That was until the 2014 offseason when Tampa Bay decided to sign free agent quarterback Josh McCown to a two-year, $10 million contract.
McCown beat out Glennon to start the season as the Bucs’ starting quarterback, but a thumb injury to McCown during the team’s fourth game of the year allowed Glennon to slide in and start five games during the 2014 season.
This was the quarterback’s opportunity to prove to his team and the rest of the league that he going to be a legitimate signal caller in the NFL for years to come. However, Glennon was only able to lead Tampa Bay to one win during his five starts and was later benched in favor of McCown.
Following the 2014 season, the Bucs released McCown and Glennon was once again the top quarterback on Tampa Bay’s roster. But that only lasted for a few months.
With the very first selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Bucs opted to select Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and Glennon’s shot at success in Tampa Bay began to dwindle.
The quarterback would go on to only appear in a total of two games in 2015 and 2016 and attempted just 11 passes during this time. In 2017, Glennon’s contract with the Bucs ran out and the quarterback became a free agent.
After the disaster of an investment the Houston Texans made on an unproven quarterback in Brock Osweiler in 2016, most felt that teams would shy away from taking a chance on a player like Glennon. But the Bears obviously saw something in the quarterback and even released veteran signal caller Jay Cutler to prove their commitment to Glennon.
Will Chicago’s gamble on Glennon allow them to reap the rewards of consistent success during the next decade of their existence? Probably not, but one can dream.