What should Chicago Bears fans make of recent rumors linking a pair of Hall of Famers to the team? Well, that answer is complex but not for the reasons most think. Neither idea is as inconceivable as one might think at first blush. But their validity lies in very different reasons. One of the rumors is also a lot more appealing than the other.
Rodgers, Watt to Bears Rumors Something or Nothing?
Watt in the World
This rumor has roots in a logical suggestion. Back in April, Eric Lambert of Sports Mockery called for the Bears to hit up the Houston Texans about a trade for J.J. Watt. This stemmed from the selloff of pricey veterans as Houston prepares itself to extend Deshaun Watson. If they traded DeAndre Hopkins at a steep discount, maybe Watt could be had for a palatable price.
Watt himself re-stoked those flames recently in an interview with YouTuber Jake Hamilton. The conversation turned to his wife, Kealia, who plays for the Chicago Red Stars. The highly decorated lineman spoke highly of the city, which he grew up not too far from in Wisconsin.
Before asking if the Bears could land Watt, one must ask should they want him. After all, he’s a five-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler and a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. But injuries have tarnished the sheen. Watt has played in eight or fewer games in three of the last four seasons. But in 2018 he played all 16 and recorded 16 sacks.
From NFL Now: #Texans DE JJ Watt told reporters he's not anticipating a new contract extension… which makes sense for an organization that still wants to pay QB Deshaun Watson a very huge lot of money at some point. pic.twitter.com/RE5OSfqppY
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 28, 2020
As Lambert explains, landing Watt wouldn’t be cheap, even with his advanced age (31) and injury history. He’s dominant when healthy. 2018 was the fifth time in nine seasons (six fully healthy) he recorded at least 10.5 plus sacks. That is where the balance will be, should there ever be an actual pursuit of his services.
Then Watt spoke on his contract situation telling reporters he doesn’t anticipate receiving a new contract offer from the Texans. This makes sense, as mentioned, with a massive Watson extension. This adds to the viability (even if it does nothing for the ease) of a Watt-Bears union to end his career.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has seen this movie before. Hell, he’s played the other starring role in it. So when the Packers traded up to draft Utah quarterback Jordan Love it shouldn’t have been a surprise, all emotions aside. He is the same age Brett Favre was when he (Rodgers) was drafted.
The Packers were coming off of a 13-3 regular season and loss in the Conference Championship when Rodgers finally started three years into his career. Green Bay is coming off a similar scenario but this will be where Love’s journey on the pine begins. Can Rodgers stave off his obvious replacement? Time will tell but that is where it gets interesting.
ESPN’s Mike Wilbon (and later NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks) said out loud what most had been thinking since the draft; that Rodgers will end his career in a different uniform. That’s not unique. Rodgers has also been linked to the New England Patriots who lost Tom Brady (also linked to the Bears before signing with Tampa Bay). But Wilbon went on to say the Bears would be the next team. Favre took a gap-year with the Jets but he did end up with division-rival Minnesota, so there is precedence.
We all know @AaronRodgers12 holds the highest single-season passer rating of all-time at 122.5.
But did you know he also has the longest streak of games with a 100+ passer rating?
He started the 2011 season with 12 straight games over 100. Unreal
— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) May 28, 2020
Positional value makes landing an aging Rodgers much more attractive than an aging Watt, period. But Rodgers’s health has been better and he has been just as dominant when healthy. Rodgers hasn’t thrown double-digit interceptions since 2010 and has thrown 25-plus touchdowns in every season he’s played in at least 15 games. That’s 10 out of 12 seasons as a starter.
Aaron Rodgers has been the bane of Bears fans’ existence ever since he took over the job from Favre, who also had a turn driving the faithful crazy. Rodgers has completed 64 percent of his passes for 5,562 yards with 47 touchdowns and just 10 (!!!) interceptions in 23 career regular-season games.
Weighing Merit of Watt, Rodgers to Bears Rumors
As of now, both of these are rumors and nothing more. So in that sense, they are equally likely to come to fruition. But Watt’s future seems more certain and will be easiest to navigate financially. Rodgers, again, is the better get for a city starved for a franchise quarterback. But the economics are far more complicated. Who knows how their situations play out, but this won’t be the last we hear of either.
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