You thought the Bears had gotten their franchise quarterback — at franchise quarterback prices — back in March.
They decided to pay Mike Glennon, a 27-year-old career backup with 18 career starts, $18.5 million as a free agent.
That was then, this is now, and this is now what the Bears think of Glennon and of the quarterback position: They traded up from third to second overall Thursday night and took Mitchell Trubisky as their future franchise guy. His price? Two draft picks this year and one next year.
If you thought the quarterback position was expensive in, say, Indianapolis or Carolina or Washington, get a load of the price tag in Chicago.
Then ask yourself how Bears general manager Ryan Pace reached the point where he felt all of that was worth it.
Pace and the Bears cleaned house at quarterback after the end of last season, ditching Jay Cutler after eight years, and were ready to start over. They went out and paid heavily for Glennon, who has played for a bunch of coaches and backed up plenty of starters in his four years at Tampa Bay.
The Bears sold that hard throughout free agency, and kept selling it throughout the draft process, as Trubisky’s star rose above that of at least one far more experienced and accomplished quarterback, Deshaun Watson. It rose even as far as first overall to the Browns as the draft approached — presuming that wasn’t just a lure for a trade.
The 49ers threw around similar speculation in the final week and a half before the draft. John Lynch is one of the few general managers in the NFL on the job for less time than Pace has been — Pace is entering his third season with the Bears, Lynch his first with the 49ers after a brief post-player broadcasting career.
Lynch dangled it out there that, hey, we might take a quarterback. He hoped someone would bite.
The Bears inhaled it.
The 49ers might go find a quarterback in this draft, or they might do as everybody has suspected ever since Kyle Shanahan became the head coach: wait out Kirk Cousins’ franchise-tag year in Washington, then grab him for 2018. But they’re not reaching in 2017. They took the potential monster defensive end who plays up the street, Solomon Thomas. At third, he was not a reach. At second, he would not have been a reach, either.
Lynch and the 49ers let Pace and the Bears do the reaching.
The Bears are 9-23 under Pace and coach John Fox, who’s way better than that record but needs a far better roster in order to prove it. Are they going to make it better with this draft? Maybe — but they won’t do it with the third- and fourth-round picks they sent to the 49ers to move up for Trubisky.
Or, for that matter, with Trubisky, or with Glennon. Not this year, not likely, not very soon, not without a lot of help.
Decide on your own whether their general manager gave Fox and the Bears the help they need. So far, all he’s given them is a big bill.