The Chicago Bears’ Signing of Jimmy Clausen Raises Eyebrows

By Clyde A. Speller
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Getty Images

After losing quarterback Josh McCown in free agency this offseason, the Chicago Bears used their sixth-round draft pick on David Fales in order to add depth going into training camp this summer. With Jay Cutler, Jordan Palmer and Jerrod Johnson already on the roster, Fales will now have to worry about another arm added to the competition.

On Thursday, Chicago signed former Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen to a one-year deal. Clausen, who was a second-round selection in 2010, has played in 13 games, starting in only 10 of them. Though those numbers don’t indicate much playing time, the Notre Dame product has way more on-the-field NFL experience than the rest of the Bears’ quarterbacks not named Cutler.

I can’t figure out why Chicago would target a passer with a track record such as Clausen’s. The only thing that makes sense is the fact that Bears head coach, Marc Trestman, has some familiarity with Clausen from running Notre Dame’s pro day in 2010. Maybe Trestman knows something about Clausen that everyone else doesn’t. Regardless of what Trestman sees, all I see is only three touchdown passes and nine interceptions in a career.

The only other logical reason why I see this move being made is so Chicago can have more than enough options in the event that the quarterback position is plagued with injuries in 2014. Let’s not forget the last time Cutler played a full season was in 2009.

Looking at the body of work that Clausen has shown in his short career, I still believe that Palmer is the favorite to be the primary backup for the Bears this season. The fact that he has knowledge of the offensive system works highly in his favor.

I definitely don’t see this as an opportunity for Clausen to completely turn his career around. Normally, Chicago has only two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, which means that Cutler and Palmer will more than likely be those two quarterbacks. It looks like Clausen, Fales and Johnson will be battling for a spot on the practice squad.

The best-case scenario for Clausen will probably be the practice squad and a potential chance to play backup if Cutler continues his pattern of being sidelined with injuries. All in all, I just see Clausen as an emergency option in case of disaster at the quarterback position.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.

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