The Chicago Bears found success by snagging one former Oakland Raiders pass-rusher, Khalil Mack, and adding him to the defense, so why not another?
Former Raiders’ DE Bruce Irvin, and the $3.8 million he had left on his Oakland contract, went unclaimed on waivers today, per source. Now a free agent.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 6, 2018
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Bruce Irvin passed through waivers without being claimed, which makes him a free agent. Irvin signed with the Raiders as a free agent in 2016 and put together some solid seasons rushing opposite of Khalil Mack when the two were teammates. In his first season with the team, Irvin collected seven sacks, forced seven fumbles, and 25 QB hits. A year later, Irvin followed up with eight sacks, four forced fumbles, 14 tackles-for-loss, and 12 more QB hits.
But much like everything associated with Oakland’s football team this season, Irvin has slumped in 2018. He has just 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 4 QB hits on the year, putting him on pace for just 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 8 QB hits for the season. Based on this year’s numbers, then, one could call Irvin a 31-year-old player on the decline … or a buy-low, bounce-back candidate who simply needs a change of scenery.
Playing for a sad-sack Raiders team makes it difficult to precisely pin down what Irvin is at this stage of his career. But because the Bears are in a position where they can take a risk and add a talented player while doing so, they should probably consider inquiring after Irvin while he’s available.
After all, in addition to being talented and skilled, Irvin has been a productive pass-rusher in the NFL in the not-so-distant past, and he comes with notable prospect pedigree – having been a first-round pick of the Seahawks in 2012, after racking up 22.5 sacks and 29 tackles-for-loss in 26 games at West Virginia. Perhaps a reunion with Mack is just what needs to happen to bring that guy out again.
The Bears don’t necessarily need another pass-rusher, especially with Mack getting close to returning, anyway. But much like how you can’t have enough pitching in baseball, there’s no such thing as too many pass-rushers in football. Chicago lost outside linebacker Sam Acho to injured reserve earlier in the year and have since filled the void mostly with Isaiah Irving. But should the Bears want a more experienced presence in the mix, they could do worse than the ex-Raider.