The Chicago Bears provided the first stunning moment of the 2017 NFL Draft, aggressively trading up one spot with San Francisco to draft North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick. General manager Ryan Pace, on the hot seat after a 3-13 season, just put all his cards on the table.
The 49ers picked up the No. 67 overall pick, the No. 111 pick and a 2018 third-round pick in exchange for moving down just one spot. Glennon, signed to a big free agent contract in March, now looks like a short-term bridge starter before he eventually gives way to Trubisky. Pace confirmed that Glennon remains the starter after the selection on Thursday night.
The trade caps a stunning rise for Trubisky, who soared high in this draft process after only starting 13 games in his career at UNC. He impressed scouts by looking the part. He has prototypical size, a quick release, good accuracy and has the athleticism to improvise when the play breaks down. But Trubisky also didn't show the typical standout traits like a big arm or the ability to go through his reads that usually accompanies a pick this high.
The Bears need help throughout their roster, yet will have three fewer picks over the next two years because Pace believes in Trubisky so much. The same is clearly not true of Glennon. While Glennon's much criticized contract in Chicago cost the team "$45 million" over three seasons, a close examination of the deal revealed it was essentially a one-year promise with $18.5 million guaranteed. Only $2.5 million is guaranteed into 2018, and Glennon may no longer be on the team by then if Trubisky develops as hoped this season.
This trade puts a lot of pressure on Trubisky and creates an awkward situation for coach John Fox. After winning only nine games in two seasons, Fox will have to manage his desire to save his job with the instinct to get Trubisky playing time.
Fox may be worried about the present, but Trubisky is the future.