Caleb Hanie won’t return to the Bears

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The Bears’ promising season went south with four straight losses after Jay Cutler’s injury and it appears the team will move on from the quarterback who presided over those losses.

Caleb Hanie is set to become an unrestricted free agent and, according to a report from Jeff Dickerson of, the team won’t make any effort to re-sign him. Hanie threw nine interceptions in those starts and three of those games would have been winnable with slightly better work at quarterback. The team played better when Josh McCown, signed off his couch in November, took over for the final two games of the season.

The news isn’t particularly surprising. Coach Lovie Smith has said that getting a better option to back up Cutler is a priority this offseason. McCown could return to the team, but the focus will be on getting a player more ready to play if Cutler should go down again in 2012. Dickerson mentions Kyle Orton, who the Bears tried to claim off waivers when the Broncos cut him in November, as an option.

Rex Grossman, Jason Campbell and Chad Henne are others with starting experience who could be available. Another name could be added to the list if Peyton Manning’s eventual destination unseats a currently employed quarterback.

21 responses to “Caleb Hanie won’t return to the Bears

  1. Maybe the Bears should take a run at Peyton and trade Cutler to Mike Shanahan and the Skins

  2. The NFC North thanks you for not being better prepared last year at back up QB….

  3. No surprise here. I liked Caleb after his play in the playoffs last year, but he was dismal this year. Time to move on. Best of luck, Caleb.

  4. duh. this doesn’t even require its own article.

    this is about as newsworthy and unsurprising as saying the bears will play at soldier field next season.

  5. My hunch is that the Bears won’t get their pick for backup QB. There’s too many other teams looking for backup QB’s that going to Chicago isn’t exactly an exciting proposition, as Jay Cutler is entrenched there as a starter.

    What they need is a steady guy that can run the offense that Tice will install. Enderle will likely be groomed as the next young guy and be in the number 3 position, so they just need a stable, steady option for the backup job. A guy like Orton would seem likely to get better opportunities than the Bears gig, and same goes for Henne. Maybe Campbell or Grossman get left in the wind, although hard to see Rex heading back to Chicago.

  6. Backup QB isn’t a serious need. I say stick with McCown and fix that O-line. Hanie was a catastrophe.

    I’ll even admit to being the one sipping the NFC Championship Kool-Aid, thinking Hanie would be our savior.

  7. toonsterwu,

    Enderle was Martz’s guy. Can’t see him hanging out too long. He may very well get cut if Tice doesn’t see what Martz sees in camp.

    I’d love to see Campbell as a backup Bears QB.

    Do not say the name Rex Grossman in Chicago. I think we’re more likely to see Jim Harbaugh back in a Bears uniform than Rex Grossman.

  8. “Rex Grossman, Jason Campbell, and Chad Henne are others with starting experience who would be available.”

    Yeah, do you really think Jason Campbell wants to go somewhere where he has no shot at starting? The other two guys really don’t have a choice.

  9. Bring back Rex and Bears fans will burn the city to the ground. Well they will burn Rex to the ground at least. Probably just Rex.

  10. How ’bout welcoming back Rex to the team, AND signing Orton and Thomas Jones from the Chiefs? Maybe Benson can be snagged back from the Bengals as well. THEN this offense will be ready for another title run. Let’s give the 2006 squad one more chance, Mr. Emery!!!

  11. The 2006 Bears rode into that Superbowl on the coat tails of Brian Urlacher, the defence and a superb special teams unit. At no point in that season did Sexy Rexy or Benson lead that team to victory.

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