Bears Star Floated as Potential Trade Target for AFC Contenders

The Chicago Bears are trending in the wrong direction despite being the owners of a .500 record at 2-2. Their offensive futility has overshadowed a defense that is dead-last against the run. The Bears’ defense ranking fourth in passing yards allowed. The caveat is that they’ve faced the fewest passing attempts in the NFL. If teams can run the ball on you, they will. The Bears found that out by allowing 262 rushing yards to the New York Giants in their 20-12 Week 4 loss.

Roughly one-quarter of the regular season is now behind us. The hypothetical trade scenarios are coming out as teams’ needs become clearer. That has brought a familiar name back into the forefront of the Bears trade chatter.

One Robert Quinn.

Robert Quinn Floated as Potential Trade Option as Bears Struggle

Quinn’s Impact on Bears

The 32-year-old Quinn’s Bears tenure has been as up-and-down as anyone. He signed a hefty five-year, $70 million contract ($38 million guaranteed) two years ago with former Bears general manager Ryan Pace still in charge. His first season was down with the veteran recording just two sacks after missing much of the offseason with a mysterious injury.

Quinn bounced back last season, breaking the franchise single-season sack record with 18.5 takedowns of the quarterback.

This year, he is off to another slower start for the rebuilding Bears.

“Quinn hasn’t been as prolific a pass-rusher this season (one sack, three QB pressures),” begins Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report, “but he showed that he can be elite in 2021. He finished that campaign with 18.5 sacks and 34 quarterback pressures…Can Quinn regain his Pro Bowl-caliber form this year? Probably, but it’s unlikely to happen in a bad Bears defense. No squad has allowed more rushing yards than Chicago, which means opposing teams aren’t inclined to drop back and pass often. The Bears’ opponents have attempted a league-low 101 passes this season.”

Bears general manager Ryan Poles said he held onto Quinn because the defense needs him as one of the few proven commodities. Quinn himself has said that he has never asked to be traded anyway, saying that he’s grown “tired of moving”.

AFC West Could Come Calling

He has played for four teams in his 12-year career. That includes going through the Rams’ transition from St Louis to Los Angeles. Interestingly enough, he has never been traded despite being a part of several teams that performed poorly on the whole. Quinn has also been rather up-and-down in his career posting 30 combined sacks in 2019 and 2020 but just 8.5 in 2018 and 2020.

Knox still believes these current set of circumstances are ripe for a deal sending the three-time Pro Bowler to the AFC.

“Quinn’s $12.8 million base salary is pass-rusher reasonable, and we’d expect teams to make serious inquiries if Chicago’s slide continues. While the Broncos have just $9.1 million in cap space available and would have to clear a little room, [Randy] Gregory‘s injury makes Denver a sensible landing spot. The Los Angeles Chargers, who have $6.5 million in space, would have to be even more financially creative. However, they are another logical landing spot. The Chargers recently placed Joey Bosa on injured reserve, and his groin tear appears more serious than originally believed.”

The Bears are at the stage of their rebuild where their sole focus should be on acquiring draft capital to beef up their ranks cheaply. They are also projected to have a lot of cap space next offseason opening the door to add frontline starters that way.

Quinn’s Play Complicates Matters

As it stands, whatever return on a trade the Bears might have gotten is likely reduced further due to Quinn’s struggles in a defense that is playing poorly. Of course, with just three weeks until the Week 8 trade deadline, don’t rule anything out. Poles’ stance was admirable coming into the season having yet to see what this group could be on the field.

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But we have seen that even someone as unique as Quinn at such a vital position cannot do it all on his own. Barring some dramatic turnaround, it makes sense to get something for Quinn now.

Quinn still has two years and over $35 million on his contract. They could stick it out with him this season and cut him in the offseason. That would result in $8 million of dead money. It still seems far more prudent to try and maximize the value he has left – it’s only going down at this point.

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