According to ESPNChicago.com, the Bears will part ways with back-up quarterback Caleb Hanie. Hanie, who is an unrestricted free agent, will be able to sign with any team when free agency opens up on March 13th. Caleb Hanie took over for Jay Cutler after he broke his thumb in the win vs the San Diego Chargers on November 20th.
Hanie played in 4 games after Cutler went down. In which the Bears lost all 4 of the games he started. Hanie threw 9 interceptions to 3 touchdowns. Hanie was eventually benched the last 2 weeks of the season in favor of Josh McCown. McCown actually open the eyes of the coaching staff with his good play. However, could the reason be …. they were watching Hanie for 4 weeks? That very well could be true and would not surprise me. McCown is also an unrestricted free agent and a return to Chicago as the back-up is not out of the question. However, the Bears would like a more proven back-up and who could help more if Cutler does go down again? I’ve heard David Garrard’s name come up and he wouldn’t be a bad choice. Garrard is coming off back surgery, though, but is expected to be ready by training camp. Another name and former Bear is Kyle Orton has come up too. But we’ll see how that plays out. Back-up QB is not on the top of the Bears’ head right now.
Following the 2011 season, Lovie Smith said “the club needs to formulate a better plan at the backup quarterback position heading into the 2012 regular season.” So … in those words, Lovie Smith knew he made a mistake by not benching Hanie earlier. However, it sounds like the Bears will have a viable back-up QB going into the 2012 season. Hopefully Phil Emery will find one and we won’t have to see/hear this problem again.
Just a week until free agency opens!