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In Bears' hunt for QB, 'everything is on the table'

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In their highly-publicized quest to find a starting quarterback this offseason, the Bears are keeping all of their options open.

"Everything is on the table in regard to the quarterback situation," general manager Ryan Pace said Tuesday during a video call with the media. "And honestly that includes players on our current roster, that includes free agency, trade, the draft and a combination of all those. We have a plan in place, and now it's about executing that plan."

With the Bears having finalized their coaching staff, Pace and coach Matt Nagy have turned their primary focus to player evaluation in preparation for the March 17 start of free agency and the April 29-May 1 NFL Draft.

"It's not just Matt and I," Pace said. "It's our coaches and our scouts together, and I would say on all positions but especially [quarterback], it's been daily conversations that we've had; not just talking, but watching film together, discussing different traits, discussing different players and different avenues to acquire those players and different combinations. So I think we're ready to kind of pivot a number of ways. I think that's going to be important this offseason, especially with that position."

Pace and Nagy can seek input from offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and quarterbacks coach/pass game coordinator John DeFilippo—as well as Tom Herman, who was hired as an offensive analyst/special projects Monday after spending the past four seasons as head coach at the University of Texas.

"I do like this staff we've assembled to kind of attack this together," Pace said. "We've added some guys even in recent days I think that can help us as we evaluate that position. We know the importance of it. We know that's a priority as we go into this offseason—that's stating the obvious—and I'm just excited about attacking it together."

Although trades won't become official until the start of the new league year March 17, there have already been two deals involving three high-profile NFL quarterbacks, with the Lions sending Matthew Stafford to the Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and the Colts acquiring Carson Wentz from the Eagles.

There have been rumblings that other veteran quarterbacks could be available on the trade market this offseason, something the Bears will monitor closely.

"Any scenario where there's a potential trade, we're going to explore every one of those," Pace said. "You know we'll be thorough with that. It's just doing our due diligence on all different things and exploring every avenue to improve our team and improve our roster, and it's no different with that."

Pace acknowledged that the Bears could set a deadline for acquiring a quarterback via trade.

"The timeline, it just dictates [that]," Pace said. "You obviously have a lot of different things planned out with free agency and the draft, and the last thing you want to do is put yourself or the team in a bad position where you get kind of stuck. So you have internal timelines that you know based on the calendar year with free agency and the draft, and you operate from that."

Veteran Nick Foles is currently the only Bears quarterback under contract for the 2021 season. Pace declined to say whether the team would be interested in re-signing Mitchell Trubisky, who is due to become an unrestricted free agent after spending his first four NFL seasons in Chicago.

"We're not going to lay all that out right now," Pace said. "Those are all internal discussions we've had. I would say, again, everything is on the table with all the quarterbacks."

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