Will the Bears try to acquire Patriots QB and Chicago area native Jimmy Garoppolo?
HOUSTON – The closest the Bears got to the Super bowl, literally and figuratively, was the first week of the season.
At 0-0, it was the only time the team wasn’t below .500 during the 2016 campaign. That week the Bears were in Houston to face the Texans, playing in the NRG Stadium where the league champion will be crowned on Sunday.
The Bears will only be spectators for that after an abysmal 3-13 season, yet during all the media hoopla the team remains a topic among the media covering the Super Bowl.
What’s the reason? Their continued struggle to find consistency at quarterback and the one guy in the Super Bowl that might be able to fix that.
After a season where he played just five games due to injury and the guaranteed money on his contract running out, the Bears may choose to move on from Jay Cutler after eight seasons.
Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, who missed the second half of the season with a broken arm, is an unrestricted free agent. Third-string quarterback Matt Barkley could return but only in a backup role.
A former standout at Rolling Meadows High School and Eastern Illinois, Garoppolo has been the primary backup for Tom Brady the last three seasons. When Brady was suspended for four games for his role in the “Deflategate” drama, Garoppolo impressed those in the league when he threw for 496 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in two of those games.
He was injured during his second start and wouldn’t make it back before the end of Brady’s suspension. Garoppolo appeared in four other games in 2016 in a relief role.
An All-Area quarterback at Rolling Meadows, Garoppolo made a name for himself his senior year at Eastern Illinois when he won the Walter Payton Award for FCS Player of the Year. In 14 regular season and playoff games for the Panthers in 2013, Garoppolo threw for 5,035 yards and 53 touchdowns compared to just nine interceptions while completing 66 percent of his passes.
He was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Patriots and has stayed as a backup to Brady since. His rookie year the Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX over the Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona.