Bears Part with McNown

Cade McNown and Dave Wannstedt two former Bears are now on the same side, after McNown was traded to the Miami Dolphins Wednesday. Just over two weeks from the season opener GM Jerry Angelo said it was time to make a move.

"At this point we felt it was the right thing for us," Angelo said. "We had talked about it the last couple of weeks. We had some inquiries from teams; Miami expressed the most interest and the most consistent interest as well. Talking with Dick this morning and talking to Dick really the last couple of days we both felt it was the right time. And the deal was good for everybody concerned."

The Bears will receive a sixth-round pick in 2002 and a conditional seventh round pick in 2003, which could be elevated by performance conditions to a third-, fifth or sixth-round pick. In return the Dolphins receive McNown and a seventh-round pick in 2002. Not much in return for the Bears number one pick (12th overall) from 1999. McNown's name will now be added to a long list of number one draft choices that did not work out with Chicago.

Others include Curtis Enis, Alonzo Spellman and John Thierry just to name a few. Angelo said McNown's was not a good fit for John Shoop's West Coast offense because he wasn't a pocket passer. "Cade is not a, in my opinion, a pocket driven quarterback," Angelo said. "The past offense in the last two years (under former offensive coordinator Gary Crowton), as well as this offense it's more pocket driven. And those are the things that I felt Cade was really struggling with. I did not see improvement. I echoed those things from our coaches as well in talking through this with them. They didn't see it either, so how long do you wait, how long does this go on. And that's the call. And that's the call we made today.

Despite Angelo's philosophy of building through the draft and with young players an offense suited towards McNown's strengths of playaction and passing outside of the pocket were never discussed. "We were too far down the path," Angelo said. "It was too late to do that. He didn't show enough of anything in the last two years to make us want to do that, so I don't second-guess that move at all. Cade had to come up to speed within the system he didn't, so we went on."

No matter what offense was or is in place the biggest factor in McNown leaving Chicago is he didn't win enough games as a starter with a 3 and 12 record in two seasons with the Bears.

"If I felt that he could play here and be the quarterback that we projected him to be when he came out of college we wouldn't have done any of this," Angelo said. "The reason we did it now, because we can get something for Cade. The timing of it is right. We did not want to cut Danny Wuerffel to keep Cade McNown. To make us a better football team this year Danny Wuerffel's a better fit and we want to get the best players on our football team. And we felt those (Shane Matthews, Jim Miller and Wuerffel) were the three best quarterbacks for the Chicago Bears."

McNown was dubbed the savior when he was drafted out of UCLA, but quickly got on the wrong side of fans and teammates with various public blunders. However, head coach Dick Jauron didn't think his actions off the field had much to do with his poor play on the field. "Honestly, I don't think a whole lot," Jauron said. "I don't think it made him overthrow the ball, I just don't. He's just got to find ways to win games. I recognize certainly a number of the things that he said didn't help him. Certainly didn't help him out either with the fans or on occasion with his teammates, but I don't really think that his personality was a factor in his play."

With McNown's departure the Bears have only three of their round picks on the roster (Walt Harris, Brian Urlacher and David Terrell). Angelo knows the Bears trend with high draft choices will have to end if the Bears are going to become a winning team, but the main focus is on overall player development.

"Financially it hurts, it's an embarrassment professionally, but you have to get over that and you have to stay focussed because you have to keep and develop the best players irrelevant of where they were taken in the draft," Angelo said.

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