If there’s another quarterback who can empathize with Mitch Trubisky, it’s Mike Glennon.
The pair, Trubisky from North Carolina and Glennon from N.C. State, will get a chance to talk about their similar college experiences with the Chicago Bears.
The Bears made the biggest splash of the NFL draft on Thursday night by moving up one spot to take Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick. This a month after the Bears signed Glennon, a four-year NFL veteran, in free agency to be their starter.
Two quarterbacks but only one guy can play. This is a familiar conundrum for both Trubisky and Glennon. Both had to bide their time in college: Glennon behind Russell Wilson and Trubisky behind Marquise Williams.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace said Thursday that Glennon, unequivocally, is the starter.
“There’s no quarterback competition when Mitch gets here,” Pace said. “Glennon is our starting quarterback. We’ll focus on Mitch’s development and Mike Glennon winning games for the Chicago Bears.”
But the Bears didn’t trade two third-round picks and a fourth-round pick to move up one spot to get Trubisky so he can hold a clipboard.
That’s not how the NFL works, even if the rookie salary cap makes sitting and developing a young quarterback more financially viable.
So Glennon, who has 18.5 million reasons not to be unhappy with the Bears, will get one shot at proving his value as an NFL starter.
This is Glennon’s second chance in the NFL. He started 13 games as rookie for Tampa Bay in 2013, throwing for 2,608 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
The Buccaneers made a coaching change after Glennon’s first season and he was relegated to backup. The Bucs drafted Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick in 2015 and Glennon has played sparingly since.
With a chance to start again, the 6-6, 232-pound Glennon signed a three-year, $45 million contract (only $18.5 is guaranteed).
Glennon’s second chance comes with a team that went 3-13 a year ago and has a serious void of NFL-level playmakers on offense. In a Glennon’s perfect world, the Bears would have used their original pick (No. 3 overall) on a receiver or Alabama tight end O.J Howard.
But that wasn’t in Chicago’s plan, Trubisky is. The rookie quarterback is already saying the right things.
“I am going to go into a great situation where Mike is the starter so I look forward to learning from him and the other veterans on the team,” Trubisky said Thursday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I just have to come in, prove myself and learn the offense as quickly as possible and help the Bears win.”
That’s the master plan. Both Glennon and Trubisky know how plans go. Glennon was the hot-shot recruit at N.C. State, hand-picked to be the starter by a new coaching staff. A quarterback, inherited from the previous coaching staff, proved to be an obstacle for playing time.
Trubisky was the hot-shot recruit at UNC, hand-picked to be the starter by a new coaching staff. A quarterback, inherited from the previous coaching staff, proved to be an obstacle in playing time.
Trubisky didn’t have to deal with the off-field politics, like Glennon did with Wilson and former coach Tom O’Brien, but the two have a shared understanding of the college experience.
Glennon started for two years at N.C. State before he was taken in the third round by Tampa Bay. The plan was for Trubisky to start two seasons at UNC, 2016 and 2017, and then start his NFL career.
The plan changed when Trubisky completed 68.2 percent of his passes and threw 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions in his first year as a starter.
Combine his size (6-2, 220 pounds) and arm talent with a paucity of elite quarterbacks in the draft class and Trubisky had no choice (he stands to make a projected $28.9 million for his rookie contract) but to jump to the NFL a year ahead of schedule.
Few plans start with Wolfpack and Tar Heel together. Let’s see how this plan unfolds.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio