Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez in free agency and trading up one spot in the draft to select Mitch Trubisky at No. 2 overall.
The Bears plan on starting Glennon this season while grooming Trubisky behind him as their quarterback of the future, with Sanchez providing veteran leadership as a backup.
Glennon joins the Bears after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Buccaneers. Selected by Tampa Bay in the third round of the 2013 draft out of North Carolina State, he started the final 13 games of his rookie season, throwing for 2,608 yards with 19 touchdowns, nine interceptions and an 83.9 passer rating.
Glennon entered the 2014 season as a backup to free-agent acquisition Josh McCown but ultimately appeared in six games with five starts, passing for 1,417 yards with 10 TDs, six interceptions and an 83.3 rating.
Glennon remained in the No. 2 role the past two seasons after the Buccaneers chose quarterback Jameis Winston with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft. The 6-7, 225-pounder did not play at all in 2015 and threw just 11 passes in limited action last season.
Pace has been a Glennon fan since the quarterback was at North Carolina State and Pace was working in the Saints personnel department.
“I’ve liked Glennon since college,” Pace said this offseason. “We would talk about him all the time in New Orleans, obviously through the draft process but also, hey, was there ever an avenue to trade for this player? And honestly those conversations continued with me when I got to Chicago because he has a lot of the traits that we value.
“He’s very intelligent. He studies a ton of tape. He’s a really hard worker and you can feel those things and he’s really good at processing the field and seeing information quickly.
“We talk about the traits we value in a quarterback whether it’s arm strength or release quickness or accuracy. But the ability to process and go through your progressions quickly and identify coverages, some guys just think quicker than others and I think that he can process information quickly and make the right decisions with the football. Sometimes that might mean the check down or throwing it away when necessary, and that’s OK.”
After signing Glennon in free agency, the Bears further bolstered the quarterback position by boldly trading up to select Trubisky, a three-year contributor and one-year starter at North Carolina. Last year he set single-season school passing records with 447 attempts, 304 completions, 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns.
“We’re excited to add a quarterback of this caliber,” Pace said after the Bears chose Trubisky with their highest draft pick since 1951. “The only chance you get to add quarterbacks like this is when you’re picking this high in the draft and taking advantage of it.
“As an organization, we had conviction on this quarterback and his special attributes and we did what we had to do to get him. His potential to be a championship quarterback is all we focused on in this move. We feel we have the perfect environment for his development.”
Sanchez, meanwhile, has played in 77 NFL games with 72 starts over eight seasons with the Jets (2009-13), Eagles (2014-15) and Cowboys (2016). He has completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 15,219 yards with 86 touchdowns, 86 interceptions and a 73.9 passer rating.
Sanchez was selected by the Jets with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft out of USC and was named the team’s starting quarterback before the start of his rookie season. He then led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two NFL seasons.
The Bears feel that Sanchez will be a valuable resource to both Glennon and Trubisky.
“He’s been through the highs and lows of our league,” Pace said. “He’s played in some big markets. He’s dealt with the challenges. He’s dealt with success. He’s the kind of player that exudes confidence. I like that about him.”