Brian Griese was brought to Chicago in 2006 for the specific purpose of being the veteran backup quarterback this team so desperately wanted, but the Bears simply didn't need him anymore just two years later.
Griese was traded Monday to the Buccaneers for a sixth-round draft choice in 2009, saving the team from having to pay him a $300,000 roster bonus Tuesday. The former Michigan Wolverine played in a total of 13 games for the Bears in two seasons, including six starts in 2007 when he led the team with 1,803 yards through the air and 10 touchdowns passes. He played in Tampa Bay from 2004-05 and was a favorite of head coach Jon Gruden, who never wanted to cut Griese in the first place but was forced to for salary-cap purposes.
Since Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton will compete in training camp for the starting job in 2008, keeping Griese made little sense because the loser of that battle is plenty capable of handling second-string duties.
JC's Take: GM Jerry Angelo was going to cut Griese anyway and save the team from having to shell out that roster bonus, so he deserves a lot of credit for striking this deal no matter what he got back in terms of compensation.
Griese was billed as a high-percentage passer who would take care of the football, as opposed to Grossman and his hard-to-shake reputation as a gunslinger prone to turnovers. However, it was Griese who threw 12 interceptions this past season on just 262 attempts, an INT percentage of 4.6 – Grossman's was just 3.1, with 7 picks on his 225 passes. Griese may have kickstarted the aerial attack when he took over in Week 4 and actually posted back-to-back 300-yard passing games in Weeks 6 and 7, but his carelessness with the ball was the reason why head coach Lovie Smith didn't hesitate to replace him with Grossman and then Orton when the opportunities were there later in the year.
The Bears will add a third quarterback in the NFL Draft this April, so look for Chad Henne of Michigan or Joe Flacco of Delaware to be holding a clipboard in the Windy City next season if either of them is still available midway through the second round.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.