Here are the facts: 1) The Oakland Raiders’ relationship with Khalil Mack – their top pass-rusher – appears to be hanging by a thread. 2) The Chicago Bears have a desperate need for a pass-rusher and enough cap space to reasonably give Mack the long-term, big-money contract he has earned and desires.
So while this seems like a logical place for the Bears to take a swing for the fences, oddsmakers don’t see Chicago stepping up to the plate and delivering. And worse than that, their long-time rivals can be found at the top of the list:
Ugh. Hate to see it. 🙅🏽♂️🧀 https://t.co/MUVUEYQXm3
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) August 13, 2018
The Green Bay Packers being set as the odds-on favorites to land Mack by the time October’s trade deadline rolls around is really unsettling. Further, the Bears not even being in the conversation feels like a punch to the gut. They make so much sense as a landing spot, too! What gives!?
Well, much like the Bears, “that team in Wisconsin” has its own set of issues among their pass-rushers. But unlike the Bears, the Packers probably feel a lot more pressure to make something happen before Aaron Rodgers snaps again.
Rodgers has two more seasons remaining on the five-year, $110 million extension signed back in 2013. And while Rodgers insists he wants to play a while longer, the two sides haven’t yet come to terms on a new deal that would make that happen. That bit of gamesmanship could force Green Bay to go all in as an attempt to show Rodgers they are willing to do whatever to maximize their window of contention.
This isn’t to say the Bears shouldn’t be going all in. To the contrary, GM Ryan Pace should be willing to push his chips to the middle of the table – and not just to up the ante for his team’s rivals up north. The Bears are operating with a quarterback on a rookie scale contract, which means there is additional flexibility to spend lavishly at positions where the team needs help. And after doing so to upgrade the pass-catchers Mitch Trubisky will throw to, edge rusher is the next logical position to throw money and assets in order to upgrade.
Even though things seem to be contentious between Mack and the Raiders, you have to think that the two sides will come to a long-term agreement that would make this round of trade rumors moot. But until that happens, we’ll continue to see Mack’s name pop up on the rumor mill. And if it turns out he becomes available, the Bears would be wise to put their best foot forward and do what it takes to get the type of game-changing pass-rusher they need because guys like Mack don’t come along in the draft or free agency all that often.