Oct 26, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger (8) reacts after throwing a touchdown against the Furman Paladins during the second half of a game at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Furman 48-16. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

A Case For the Chicago Bears To Pursue Zach Mettenberger

The Chicago Bears defense is rightfully going to get the attention in both free agency and the NFL draft.  Here’s why they should save a pick for Zach Mettenberger.

Josh McCown exit will leave little depth behind Jay Cutler

Casual and die hard Bears fans must’ve heard by now that the whispers are growing louder about the impending exit of veteran backup quarterback Josh McCown on the free agent market.  It’s not really a big surprise.  Despite being 35-years old he had an outstanding 2013 season, stepping in to relieve the injured Jay Cutler and throwing over 1,800 yards, 13 touchdowns and just one interception.  His leadership and mobility to go with underrated accuracy has caught the attention of several teams.  Like most players he has a family to consider, not to mention a desire to play.  So it’s not a huge surprise that expectations are he will take an offer from another franchise to compete for the starting job.  Still, it does put Chicago in a difficult bind.  Though they have Jay Cutler locked up as the starter for the forseeable future, the depth chart behind him is dangerously thin.  Considering his style of play and how he hasn’t played a full season in years, that is something the team can’t let stand.  The question is how do they go about fixing it before the season starts?

Mettenberger talent under Marc Trestman could become trade bait

Obviously fans have clamored for the Chicago Bears front office to take a young quarterback in the NFL draft, somebody for the renowned quarterback guru Marc Trestman to develop behind Cutler.  If that were to happen, which is becoming more and more likely, then the team can address the issue after the defense has been taken care of.  That would mean the fifth round or later.  However, aside from the nagging Tom Brady argument, the chances of landing a quality talent at quarterback in the late rounds is minimal at best.  On the other hand, recent history shows that there is a lot to be hopeful for by investing a third or fourth round pick in a project player.  So once the third round comes about the Bears should seriously consider getting that quarterback, and if he’s available, it should be Zach Mettenberger.  The LSU senior was having a solid year in 2013 and was considered a borderline first round pick.  Unfortunately a torn ACL last in the season delivered a tough blow to his draft stock.  That is why he is considered a pick for between the second and fourth rounds.  Mettenberger looks like the prototypical NFL quarterback.  He’s 6’5″ with a cannon for an arm and displayed improved decision-making throughout last season.  That said he suffered from inconsistency and doesn’t have the mobility befitting his underrated athleticism.  In simpler terms, he’s not a finished product but his physical talent is undeniable.  Putting him under the guidance of Trestman will not only serve to bolster his knowledge and confidence, but also give the Chicago Bears a two-for-one deal.

Zach Mettenberger is talented enough to be a very real insurance policy against the Jay Cutler Question.  Yet at the same time, investing a pick in him gives the Bears a chance to stash away a potentially lucrative trade piece over the next few seasons, all while have him in place as the replacement for Josh McCown.

Tags: Chicago Bears Jay Cutler Josh McCown Marc Trestman Zach Mettenberger

  • Charles Spencer King

    Erik, I’m on board with Mettenberger, In fact I’d personally rate him in the top two QB prospects ( for us). However, I think we have to grab him in the second round, because I do not think he’ll make it out of the second round. Of course my mock has us trading down with SF, so they can get Gilbert or Dennard who I have going at 14 and 15 respectively. The haul would be: (480) SF surrenders their 2nd round (pick 61) @ 292, 3′d round (pick 94) @ 124, 2015 5th round (pick 156) @ 28.2, 5th round (pick 158) @ 28.2, 7th round (pick 219) @ 3.8, and finally (pick 220) @ 3.4. Personally I do not think Mettenberger will be there at 61……but we will see..:-)

    • Erik Lambert

      You might be right, Charles. A lot will depend on what happens at the LSU pro day. If he performs well that might get him back into the second round. However, I’m of the belief that there will be a run on quarterbacks early in the first, then another one early or midway through the second in which Manziel, Bortles, Carr, Bridgewater, Garoppolo and McCarron will come off the board. That should open the door for Mettenberger to drop to where the Bears could get him in the third round, especially if they’re able to get an extra third from San Francisco as you suggest. Personally I don’t think they’ll give up that many picks for Gilbert or Dennard. I’d still be good with a second, third and fifth. I believe the ACL will be just enough to keep him in the third. We’ll see if his buzz picks up.

  • FJ doreza

    Thank you for recognizing Zach…after all this hype, and it IS hype on Manziel, which is completely unwarranted, guys like Mettenberger are left in the dark. I have watched every single game LSU has played, twice, just so I could see what this kid can do and how it would translate to the Bears. Cam Cameron’s offense doesn’t look unfamiliar, with a balanced attack and two receivers who can high point the ball. Zach is far less inconsistent than you say and I argue that he does throw the ball away often rather than taking sacks and he does take more chances downfield. But, other than that, he throws not only with control and accuracy, he also has a nice easy heat, more touch, a lighter, not heavier fastball that Cutler throws. He has poise and presence int the pocket, his footwork and decision making have improved every season. He is, in my opinion, the only pro ready QB that can make ALL the passes with ease, sure he’s slow but for a big man he can still pass on the move very well. Besides, how many great Super Bowl quarterbacks were there that were sub 5-40? He would be a very wise pick with or without Josh McCown but the Bears could have saved a TON of money for the defense if they got rid of Jeff Geo..I mean Jay Cutler.

    • Erik Lambert

      He is definitely a talented kid and work a look. We finally have a head coach who can mold a youngster properly and I don’t want to waste that. I understand the Cutler criticism and it’s fair to say he’s earned quite a bit of it but I’m still reserving my final judgment until he’s had another couple seasons in this system. Meanwhile, we can put Mettenberger behind him to learn, heal and grow and have a variety of ways to use him be it as a backup, Cutler replacement or even a trade piece. It’s a smart pick. In my opinion of course.

  • Charles Spencer King

    LOL Erik, that is why you are the expert on this subject and I write on others. I would not bank on the SF trade or my suggested structure of the trade. It is I admit homespun wishful thinking, If you have not had your quota of chuckles today, you can buzz over to my Facebook page and it is the link to the moc is the third or fourth post down on the wall…..If you can’t get there from my photo, it is www then slash Orunmila. or simply Google me, cheers.

    • Erik Lambert

      You should read the Community Mock Draft we’ve been constructing and look at what I did with the Bears. The Day 2 action piece should come out tomorrow morning.

      • Charles Spencer King

        I will look forward to that ! Thanks for the heads up….