Pace keeps Bears' QB options open, no decision on Robinson
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By ANDREW SELIGMAN
CHICAGO (AP) General manager Ryan Pace had few answers when it came to the two biggest questions facing the Chicago Bears in the offseason.
He wouldn't rule out anything when it comes to a potential starting quarterback next year, not even a return for Mitchell Trubisky. And he said the Bears haven't decided whether to use the franchise tag on star receiver Allen Robinson.
"Everything's on the table in regard to the quarterback situation," Pace said Tuesday. "And honestly, that includes players on our current roster. And that includes free agency, a trade, the draft and a combination of all those."
The Bears seemed to make their feelings clear about Trubisky when they declined their fifth-year option for 2021 on the 2017 No. 2 overall draft pick prior to last season. They also acquired Nick Foles from Jacksonville to push their once-prized QB.
Trubisky got benched in a Week 3 comeback win at Atlanta and didn't return to the lineup until late November. In between, Foles struggled and suffered a hip and glute injury.
But if the Bears have decided whether they will try to re-sign Trubisky, Pace wouldn't say.
"We're not going to lay all that out right now," he said. "Those are all internal discussions we've had. I would say, again, everything is on the table with all the quarterbacks."
Pace has shown a willingness to make bold trades, moving up a spot in a deal with San Francisco to draft Trubisky and acquiring Khalil Mack from the Raiders in 2018.
Some prominent quarterbacks have been traded this offseason, with Matthew Stafford going from Detroit to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff. Philadelphia also sent Carson Wentz to Indianapolis.
Deshaun Watson, who was available when Pace took Trubisky, wants out of Houston. And the only quarterback the Bears have under contract for next season is Foles, the Super Bowl 52 MVP.
"Right now, we're literally in the thick of everything and just so many, `What if this? What if that?'" coach Matt Nagy said. "And it's our job to work together to make sure we're dotting our I's and crossing our T's together."
The Bears made the playoffs for the second time since Nagy was hired in 2018. But they also went 8-8 in the regular season for the second year in a row, before a convincing wild-card loss at New Orleans.
Chicago's offense struggled for most of the season. One of the bright spots was Robinson, who is in for a big payday coming off one of his most productive seasons.
"Hey, we love Allen Robinson," Pace said. "He's a great player for us. We know that. And not just the player but the teammate, the professional that he is. Again, the franchise tag is an option for us. It doesn't mean we're necessarily going to use that. But we want to keep our good players, and Allen is a good player for us."
Robinson caught a career-high 102 passes. And his 1,250 yards were second only to the 1,400 he had with Jacksonville in his 2015 Pro Bowl season.
"A-Rob knows how much we love him," Nagy said. "A-Rob knows how much that me as a head coach and Ryan as a general manager, the importance that he brings to the city, to the organization, to his teammates, to all of us."
Is there more to the holdup than money?
"No," Pace said. "With a contract there's a number of things that go into it. ... I know Allen wants to be a Chicago Bear and we want him to be a Chicago Bear, and it's a sensitive process that we're kind of in the middle of. And we gotta work through it."
NOTES: Nagy said he interviewed nine candidates for defensive coordinator to replace the retired Chuck Pagano. He promoted Sean Desai from safeties coach. ... Pace said the Bears expect to have nose tackle Eddie Goldman back next season after opting out. ... Pace also confirmed the Bears are releasing CB Buster Skrine, saying "We had a difficult decision with Buster."
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Updated March 2, 2021