The 2017 Chicago Bears were able to piece together a defense that ranked among the top-10 in scoring and yardage despite not having a dominant pass-rusher. But even after an offseason of sweeping change, the 2018 Bears started the summer with a gaping whole at the position and questions regarding how the team would address its last major remaining need.
Trading for Khalil Mack addressed the position and is the answer to all of your burning questions. So let’s get to know him.
Player, Age (in 2018), Position
Khalil Mack, 27, outside linebacker/defensive end/edge defender
- 6 years, $141 million ($90 million guaranteed)
- $60 million signing bonus
- It’s literally the largest contract ever handed out to a defensive player in league history
- Season stats: 16 games, 10.5 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
- Pro Football Focus grade: 90.2
The Raiders finished 23rd in total defense and 20th in scoring, but don’t blame Mack for that unit’s short-comings. Mack did his part as best he could as he came up with his third straight double-digit sack season and his third Pro Bowl season in as many years.
Adding that type of production to a defense with a strong core in place could elevate Vic Fangio’s unit to another level.
- Career stats: 64 games (64 starts), 40.5 sacks, 231 tackles, 9 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 1 interception, 1 defensive touchdown
- Notable achievements: AP Defensive Player of the Year (2016), 2014 NFL All-Rookie Team, First-team All-Pro (2015, 2016), Pro Bowl (2015, 2016, 2017), AFC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 14 in 2015, Week 9 and Week 12 2016).
- Pro Football Focus grades: 92.5 (2016), 91.8 (2015), 87.0 (2014)
Mack has been excellent, consistent, and consistently excellent during his four-year career. That’s why the Raiders commanded an extraordinary return on the trade market and why the Bears were happy to make the deal. While the Bears’ defense was talented and possessed upside, no player in the group is as accomplished as Mack. High-floor, high-ceiling players don’t come around often, rarely (if ever) make it to free agency, and don’t usually become available on the trade market. Can you see why the Bears (and several other teams) insisted on striking while the iron was hot?
Even though Mack played his college ball at Buffalo, he was no slouch. Mack earned first-team All-American honors in 2013, and was a first-team All-MAC member, and the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year (2013).
Mack hasn’t missed a game in his four-year career with the Raiders. Further, Mack has played on at least 87 percent of the team’s total defensive snaps in each of those years. In short, Mack has been excellent and durable.
In Mack, the Bears are adding a player who checked in among the top-10 of players for 2018 by Pro Football Focus’ standards. Before Mack, the Bears had a grand total of zero players on PFF’s list. That’s game-changing talent right there.
Mack has racked up 257 total QB Pressures since the start of the 2015 season, according to Pro Football Focus’ stats. His 96 QB pressures in 2016 were the second most in a single-season since 2010, only Tamba Hali had more (97) in 2010. But he’s not just a pass-rusher. PFF notes he has 207 defensive stops in his career, which is 40 more than next best edge rusher Von Miller.
Mack is a star pass-rusher and is still in the prime of his career. Giddy up!
First-year Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich sure sounds like someone who is relieved that he doesn’t have to game-plan against Mack:
Bears offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich on Khalil Mack: "When he gets off the bus, he disrupts life." (This wins)
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) September 6, 2018