- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 1, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — Bills general manager Brandon Beane described Mitch Trubisky as a “marry-your-daughter-type of guy.” So, if that’s the case, are the Commanders ready to get down on one knee?

Yes, Trubisky — the former No. 2 overall pick who flamed out in Chicago — has been floated as an option for teams like the Commanders who are in desperate need of a new starting quarterback.

After spending a year with the Bills as Josh Allen’s backup, Trubisky is set to enter free agency with reportedly no shortage of options. Beyond Washington, the Steelers, the Giants and the Saints have all been linked to Trubisky.

“I feel good he’s going to get at least a good opportunity to compete for a starting job this year,” Beane said.

“It’s unrealistic to think that we’re going to be able to have him back,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said.

If that seems confusing for a player who has been benched for Chase Daniel and Nick Foles, well, you wouldn’t be alone.

But in a competitive market for quarterbacks — six franchises, at a minimum, are expected to look for a new starter — teams may have to quickly pivot from Plan A. For instance, the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, the quarterback Commanders’ fans arguably want most via trade, poured cold water on the possibility of playing for Washington — telling NBC’s “Today” on Tuesday that he prefers to stay in Seattle and on the West Coast.

Trubisky, the thinking goes, may still have upside at only 27 years old — and signing him wouldn’t prevent a team from drafting someone else to develop. And the Bills gave Trubisky a chance to reset his career, with Trubisky benefitting from the time, learning from Allen and an innovative offensive staff.

“If you look at his career history in Chicago, they went to the playoffs and won a lot of games when you compare it to young quarterbacks as a rookie,” Beane said. “He was drafted highly. In fairness, I think it happens because he was drafted so highly and above the guys he was, he was always being compared to them and just never was going to be able to live up to [Patrick] Mahomes, [Deshaun] Watson.

“He’s really good quarterback and I think he’ll have a really good opportunity,” Beane said.

It’s true that Trubisky’s draft status was consistently held against him. Critics noted how the Bears not only traded up from No. 3 to No. 2 for the quarterback, but also how Chicago passed on Mahomes (10) and Watson (12).  

But critics kept bringing that draft status up for good reason: Trubisky often spectacularly failed to live up to expectations.

While Trubisky was 29-21 as a starter with two playoff appearances, he went 5-14 against teams that made the playoffs. Inconsistency plagued Trubisky, who reportedly clashed with then-coach Matt Nagy over the Bears offense. The Athletic reported in 2020, Trubisky’s final season, that Nagy pegged Trubisky as “uncoachable” in front of the team for missing open reads and failing to properly execute the offense.

Joining the Bills turned things around, according to Trubisky. The quarterback told ESPN the Bills “really opened my eyes” and helped him get back to playing “instinctual football.”

And the Bills’ brass has had nothing but positive things to say about their backup.

“Listen, it’s hard to handle a situation where you’re coming from, basically, a career starter to a backup,” McDermott said. “That’s a totally different dynamic. When somebody else is in front of the microphone a couple lockers down from yours, I thought Mitch Trubisky handled that extremely well, as good as anybody could handle it.”

So would Washington really be interested in Trubisky? There’s speculation the Commanders could pursue the quarterback, and coach Ron Rivera indeed is close with Beane and McDermott — two men who worked with Rivera in Carolina.

Rivera is also on record as a fan of Trubisky. In 2017, while still coaching the Panthers, the coach told reporters he watched a lot of Trubisky in college: Trubisky played at North Carolina, while Rivera coached in Charlotte.  Rivera said Trubisky’s leadership consistently stood out.

“We think the young man has got what it takes,” Rivera said. “We like who’s he’s gonna become. We do. We think the future can be bright for him. We are big fans here.”

A lot, of course, has changed since then. But Trubisky’s long-battered NFL stock now seems to be on the rise.

ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller noted on Twitter that he’s talked to more teams about Trubisky at the combine than the quarterbacks in the 2022 draft. That, he wrote, said a lot.

“He’ll have a really good opportunity,” Beane said.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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