The Khalil Mack trade paid off immediately for the Bears in 2018. They won 12 games, a division title, and hosted a playoff game.
But as we are starting to learn, Mack’s value isn’t limited to sacks, forced fumbles, quarterback hits, etc.:
New #Bears RB Mike Davis: 'Khalil Mack is everything, man. He's everything as advertised.'
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) March 14, 2019
Cordarrelle Patterson on Khalil Mack, his teammate with the Oakland Raiders in 2017: "He’s one of, if not the, best defensive players I’ve ever been around…he’s a monster."
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) March 14, 2019
Two of the Bears’ priority free-agent signings – Cordarrelle Patterson and Mike Davis – raved about Mack during their introductory press conferences. So if you allow yourself to think about it through this lens, Mack’s presence in Chicago is helping off the playing surface and beyond the box score.
Sure, Mack accepting a restructured deal literally helped the cause by creating cap space … but there is more to it. Players who want a chance to win want to play with the best of the best. And Mack is exactly that – a star in his prime who happens to play on the best defense in football. If everything else (read: money) is equal, then the opportunity to win is often a tiebreaker. Having Mack is an edge no other team can boast.
I mean, just look at this monster in action:
I always come away more impressed with Mack’s highlight reels after every watch because there is always a guy who is holding (or at least trying) him … and he still makes the play. It’s nothing short of spectacular.
Mack’s arrival sparked the Bears’ ascent and has made Chicago a destination for free agents who want to win. What a world we live in! The Bears went from a team on the fringe that could make some noise for a wild-card spot if things broke the right way to a team on the cusp of doing something special and one of the NFC’s top Super Bowl contenders. And you better believe the Mack factor played a major role.