As they continue to try to 'build that championship culture,' QB Mitchell Trubisky still sees his future with Chicago Bears

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky left open the possibly of returning to Chicago next season after the offense flopped in Sunday's 21-9 playoff loss at the New Orleans Saints.

"I think I can definitely see myself back here next year," Trubisky said on a Zoom call. "Obviously, a lot of that is out of my control, but it feels like home and it feels like we have unfinished business.

"Right now, I'm just bummed about this season being over and how the game went. So, a lot of emotions going on right now, but I can see that. We'll see. There are a lot of things that have to happen and a lot of decisions that have to be made and that's out of my control, but I can see that."

What the future holds for Trubisky, coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace is the organization's central storyline following the Bears' first-round playoff exit.

The Bears declined Trubisky's fifth-year option last May. Barring the use of the franchise tag -- projected to be in the neighborhood of $23.5 million in a year when the NFL's salary cap is expected to drop -- Trubisky is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

Nick Foles is the only current Bears quarterback under contract for 2021 and is expected to count $6,666,666 against next year's salary cap.

The second overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft, Trubisky started 45 games for the Bears until Nagy benched him in favor of the veteran Foles in Week 3 of the 2020 regular season.

Trubisky, 26, eventually reclaimed the starting job in Week 12 and led Chicago to impressive victories over Houston, Minnesota and Jacksonville. However, Trubisky failed to guide the Bears past stiffer competition, as Chicago ended the year 1-7 versus playoff teams, including Sunday's defeat in New Orleans, where the offense went 1-for-10 on third-down conversions.

Trubisky completed 19 of 29 passes for 199 yards and one touchdown, much of that occurring in garbage time. Trubisky also had a sure touchdown pass dropped by wide receiver Javon Wims in the first half.

Overall, the Bears lost eight of their final 11 games and backed into the postseason by virtue of the Rams defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 -- the Bears wrapped up the regular season with a 35-16 blowout loss to Green Bay.

"I feel like I got better [after the benching]," Trubisky said. "I feel like I got better this year. I feel like when I was put back in the starting lineup that the offense was better and I gave my team a chance to win, and we did win games, and that is why we were able to get back into the playoffs. It wasn't just me, but it was the whole unit coming together and the whole team making plays and really getting through that adversity together. But I feel like I was a big part of that.

"So there are some good things that we did toward the end of the season that helped put us in position to be able to play here tonight, but that's now how we want to finish. We finished the season 8-8 and slid into the playoffs. We did that last year, so there are still things that need to be changed; there are still a lot of areas we need to grow in to build that championship culture that we want to get to. I think we have some pieces, but there is a lot more that we need to do better, and we need to figure that out."

Nagy -- named NFL coach of the Year in 2018 -- has two seasons left on his contract and is the first Bears head coach to lead the team to multiple playoff appearances since Lovie Smith, who coached the team from 2004 to 2012.

"We haven't gotten into any of that yet in regards to that stuff," Nagy said when pressed about his fate on Sunday.

"Like I told you all at the beginning of the week, we've been so focused in on this game. Same thing goes with the staff. You all know. It's probably not just our staff. It's probably a lot of staffs, whether it's promotions or demotions or whatever, there's always change. That's just how it goes. That's something that tomorrow, for us, as a team, we'll do all our exit interviews and all that stuff and talk to the guys. That'll be down the road. Again, I'm just at a point right now where I can literally say I appreciate the fight of these players, and then tomorrow we'll discuss the other stuff."

Pace, who has served as Chicago's general manager for the past six seasons, has one year remaining on the three-year extension the team announced in 2018.