In a surprising move, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have traded a 2009 draft pick, thought to be a sixth or seventh rounder, to the Chicago Bears for quarterback Brian Griese. It’s not surprising that the Bears offloaded Griese, just surprising that another team decided to trade for him, and assumed a fairly hefty contract to acquire his rights.
What a turnaround. Chicago’s signing of Griese in 2006 was lauded as the best move of that offseason, and one that was well overdue for the Bears. In 2004 and 2005, the Bears failed to secure an adequate veteran backup to oft-injured anointed starter Rex Grossman, and Grossman was severely injured in each of those seasons.
The Bears outbid the very Buccaneers for Griese’s services in ’06, signing him to a five-year contract worth close to $20 million. (Griese played in Tampa in 2004 and 2005, but was released following ’05 in a cost-cutting move). Then, of course, when they finally had a valid backup plan, Grossman was healthy enough, if not effective enough, to start 16 games.
The 2007 Chicago Bears season is well-documented. Grossman was benched after three bad performances, giving way to Griese. Griese put up big numbers and led the Bears to several victories, but his presence was not a catalyst for victory. It has also been rumored that something must have happened behind the scenes to drop Griese from favor with the coaching staff following his 97-yard drive to victory at Philadelphia.
This has worked out as best it could, with the Bears at least picking up a late-round pick for Griese instead of nothing. Just like Chris Chandler before him, Griese was probably the best quarterback the team could have signed to be a stop-gap starter. But he wasn’t the type of player to pull a season out of the garbage can, for which the Bears tried to utilize him in 2007.